Fact: You can write whatever the hell you want.
Fact: It doesn’t matter what your mother, neighbor, spouse, teacher, kids, hairdresser or goddamned postman thinks of it.
Fact: Until you believe the two sentences above, you will not get out of your own way and just write.
I’ve lost count of the number of writers I worked with who didn’t think they had the stuff, worried incessantly what everyone else thought, and then got blocked. Oh yeah, because it’s ALL of them.
I hate to repeat myself, but I will. Of course you think you suck. Only shitty writers believe they’re any good.
We all have an internal editor harping on us from every angle imaginable.
Oh, don’t say that. It sounds trite.
But what will Aunt Paula think if I leave her out?
Jesus, my boss will freak if he reads this.
And we wonder why we get stuck?
If you question every paragraph, sentence, word you jot down, you’re brain is not going to keep generating ideas.
The good news is you get to pick: Do you want to create or critique? ‘Cause you can’t do both at the same time. Writing is referred to as a process for a reason. It has two steps, which use two different parts of your brain. The first step is to motherfucking write. The second is to motherfucking edit. (Yeah, I said it. Twice.)
Case-in-point: My 10 year old is writing a book. For the hell of it. He’s spent hours upon hours within earshot of my coaching phone calls with writers, and my group writing classes, and even casual chats with writer friends. He knows my tools well. He knows how to push past the crap that stops you from saying what you need to say. Evidently, he also knows how to spell it out for the folks at home.
Below is a small portion of the prologue for his as yet unnamed book. (He started it last night.)
Mostly, I am here to take that black thing – that squishy itch – that spot in your heart that says, ‘Nope. That won’t do,’ or ‘Are you kidding me?’ That one spot that keeps you from moving on. From taking that next step. I am here to take that spot and throw it into oblivion, and put a little thing I like to call imagination in its place …
His first chapter is called “Dragons.” I’ll keep you posted.
My point? He’s fucking 10 and he can do it. Your excuse is not valid.
Yes, you will beat yourself up when you write. Yes, you may hedge and clear your throat on the page ad nauseum. Yes, you can and will get past all of that and tell your story.
This is about tenacity.
It’s about how bad you want a thing.
It’s about being tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious and scared – AND DOING IT ANYWAY.
It’s about looking yourself in the mirror, knowing in your heart you have a story to tell, and having the conviction to live out your dream.
Because if you really want to write, you’re not wasting time.
And frankly, the worst thing you ever write is far better than anything you never write.
So let’s just tell self-doubt to go fuck itself, mkay?
Subscribe in the upper right hand corner and grab my free book A Writer’s Voice, designed to help you write like YOU. So you can say what you want to say, how you want to say it – and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks (and quit writing like a pretentious asshat). It matters.