Do you spend time with your writing ideas, poking them here and there, and then putting them back on the shelf? (Or rather, in the cloud)?
Do you write a few blogs, posts, poems, or lines and feel like none of it makes you a real writer?
Do you participate in #WritersLifts on Twitter, listen to writing podcasts, and try to perfect your writing habit before you even put pen to paper?
You keep moving the goal posts because the identity of “writer” feels loaded.
If you’re a writer, then maybe you’re a bad one. If you’re a writer, maybe people will think you’re copying your favorite authors instead of being original. If you’re a writer, you have a lot to live up to.
The only thing between wanting to be a writer, and actually being one… is a decision.
All those sneaky self-doubts would find something else to fuss over if you weren’t a writer. They aren’t unique to writing. And your favorite best-selling authors don’t have some kind of magical formula or a secret power. They just had an idea and stuck with it. (And often have a lot of privilege too, but that’s another suitcase to unpack).
It’s the sticking with it part that sucks and feels so hard.
Because it is. When the world tells you things like…
- Writers can’t make a living with their work
- You can be a starving artist or a sellout, there’s no middle ground
- You have to promote yourself on every single social platform to have a following and sell books
And your OWN BRAIN is giving you really great spooky stories like…
- My story isn’t special enough to write about
- I have to be on top of the latest trends to be relevant
- My idea is just a pipe dream
Then it’s OBVIOUS why sticking with your draft feels impossible. With those odds, it’s no wonder most people don’t finish their books.
But I have wonderful news.
The only thing you need to tell a story is to be a person.
And you’re nailing it.
To finish (or even start) writing a book, you don’t need to be the perfect writer or have the perfect outline. You don’t have to write every day or get up at five in the morning.
And I know this because I’ve been there. My first book was published in 2019, and in 2020 I had a lot of ideas for more! But the publishing pros said I hadn’t sold enough of my first book, and maybe it was best to keep promoting that.
I was bummed out. I had sent my agent three different ideas for books, and the response was really disheartening.
No matter what his words said, what I internalized was “You didn’t do a good enough job, so the dream is gone.”
That’s not true. But it was true to me for a while.
When I started my coaching business, I was too focused on that to keep writing. I kept thinking, “Writing isn’t part of coaching, I don’t have time for my blog, I don’t have time to write books if they won’t make money.”
I was actively denying the part of myself that generates my creative passions. I am a WRITER. Not because of my book sales, not because I have a published work, not because of anything aside from the fact that I have a heart and mind full of stories and I use words to tell them. Because I use words to connect with people.
In 2021, I had a brilliant idea come to me in the shower: A science fiction story about an agency that lets you change one moment in your past. Inspired in part by shows like Dollhouse and drawing on the concept of the butterfly effect, the idea for Lepidoptera stayed in my mind (and on a page in my notebook) for almost a year.
This year, I decided it was time. The story would NOT leave me alone. I was dreaming about it, thinking about it, wishing I could set aside time to write it.
But I knew the hustle of my past writing projects was not going to be the way. The early mornings, the daily word count, they just weren’t for me anymore. Since publishing my first book, I’ve gotten to know myself, including my body and mind, so much better.
I know I have ADHD. I know I’m autistic. I know I’m chronically ill and disabled. I know I need rest. And I know I don’t always have the motivation, energy, or time to write every single day.
Mid-way through November, I’m closing in on 100,000 words written and am about to finish my second novel this year, because I figured out a sustainable writing practice that works for me.
I’m teaching it to you for free this week!
The habits I’ve been able to implement (and teach my clients) about goal setting and creating a sustainable writing practice have been hugely impactful.
No more daily word count. No more getting lost in the weeds of the story and losing track of my goal.
Finish Your First Draft is a master class in getting out of your own way and letting yourself tell the story inside you. It will transform how you write – and how you talk to yourself about your writing.
And I’m giving away a free 21 day story map to help YOU achieve your writing goals and shift your self concept in the next 21 days – available to people who take action during the training!