Three Hurdles to Writing (And How to Overcome Them)
May 12, 2020
Note From Rochelle
It’s my birthday week! In celebration, I lowered the price of my ebook, Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. If you need a tool to figure out how to get stuff done, take a look!
Today I’m writing about one of my favorite topics: how to overcome hurdles and get stuff written.
Three Hurdles to Writing
(And How to Overcome Them)
by Rochelle Melander
He would like to be capable of writing as he thinks, quickly, without effort, the word as agile and dynamic as athletes in a race, jumping over hurdles, one after the other, go, go, go, flying towards the finishing post, faster than the disgust limping behind him.
We desperately yearn to write that book, to become a published author, to find our passionate readers—and yet we don’t. Day after day flies by, and we do not put pen to paper. Why? Are we failures? Do we need to go back to school? Does procrastination hold us so tightly in its ugly grips that we cannot free ourselves to write even a few words a day?
Over the years, I’ve worked with many people who want to write. I’ve noticed distinct differences in the attitudes and behaviors of people who launch blogs and finish books. When I examine my own writing habits, I can see why I manage to finish some projects while others languish untouched.
No matter what you want to write—a book, a blog, articles or poems—you will encounter hurdles. Here are three hurdles to writing, and how to overcome them.
Hurdle One: Purpose
So you know what you want to do—write more poetry, start a blog, finally write that book. But do you know why you want to do it? Most of my procrastinating clients tell me that they have no trouble finishing an assignment for an editor or a teacher. When we puzzle over why, a variety of reasons come up from pay to punishment—you get paid to write for an editor and punished if you don’t. But the real difference is purpose: When we write for an editor, we have a purpose. Real people will read our work. When we write something we want to write—unless we’re under contract to a publisher—we have no idea if it will be read by anyone.
The Fix: We need a reason to write, a purpose beyond ourselves. Rewrite your goal and add a purpose statement:
- I will write my book this year so I can teach my clients how to overcome symptoms of anxiety.
- I will launch my blog this year so I can help people learn to love their body.
- I will write this year so I can … (Add your reason here!)
Hurdle Two: Other Goals
You’d be writing that book, but first you have to launch that course, make dinner for your family (do they really need to eat every day?), or plant that garden. Our life and career goals often conflict with our writing goals. When that happens, we don’t have the life-space or headspace necessary to think big thoughts and write them down.
The Fix? Take a hard look at your life and list every single thing you’re doing that might get in the way of writing your book. Let go of one or more activities that conflict with your goal of writing. Open up time and space in your life to think and write. If letting go of one thing doesn’t help, go back to your list and choose another activity to let go of. Repeat until you’re writing regularly.
Hurdle Three: BHAG
Lots of coaches talk about the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). I often meet writers who have BHAGS—like writing a nine-book epic fantasy series or the definitive guide to the care and feeding of rabbits. I tend to like a good ol’ BHAG myself, but the truth is: having a big hairy audacious goal is a huge hurdle to actually writing a book.
The Fix: Break down your BHAG into absurdly tiny steps. So instead of “write nine-book epic” or “write book one” or even “research characters” try something like:
+Write physical description of the evil queen of the fairies.
+Write a list about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet.
When the steps are small enough, they will feel easy. You’ll feel calm and able to tackle anything. And you will be writing.
Bonus Hurdle: Getting around to it
In my head, I’ve got a lot of stuff I’d like to get done—including practicing yoga every day and baking bread. I paid for a yoga class once a week, put it on my calendar, and never miss it. But the rest of it? I put it on my to-do list, but I rarely get around to it.
The fix: Instead of just adding “writing” to your to do list, schedule it in your calendar. If it helps, note the small step you plan to accomplish. Then give yourself a sticker when it’s done.
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, experienced publishing strategist, and the author of eleven books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. She provides solutions for people who feel stuck, overwhelmed or confused by the writing and publishing process. She is the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports children and teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories. Sign up for her Write Now! Tips Ezine at https://www.writenowcoach.com.
When you break it down into smaller steps, it looks do-able. Thank you Rochelle!
Thank you, Sally!