Tag Archive - Self-sabotage

3 Ways to Counteract Self-Sabotage

Years ago I surveyed my mailing list and got back about 500 responses. My main question I posed was this: “What is your most pressing problem when it comes to your writing?” Hands down, the most prevalent response was the difficulty in finishing a project.

There are a lot of reasons we don’t get the writing done, and often fear is at the center. Fears can be real, valid, and substantial. They can also be illusive—ones we fabricate or blow out of proportion because we aren’t ready or willing to deal with the fears.

I like to face my fear by asking myself: “What’s the worst that could happen?” When it comes to finishing a book and considering publishing it or sending queries to agents, writers often fear rejection. What if every agent rejects your manuscript? What if you self-publish and readers hate your book and you get all one-star reviews? What if no one buys your book?

These are valid fears. But they’re not life-threatening. If these things happen, we aren’t going to die. Our career isn’t down for the count.

It’s always easier to give in to the fear and avoid risk. And one of the ways we do this is via self-sabotaging. Continue Reading…

Ways Writers Can Combat Perfectionism

When you worry if what you’re writing will be “good enough,” here are some tips to help your brain change the self-talk:

Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect to get into your writing. Accept that whatever you write will never be perfect. Go for “complete.” Finish a scene or chapter. Let yourself feel the satisfaction of completion even while knowing your writing may need more work.

Instead of focusing on the finished product, try adopting the five steps of design thinking: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to enjoy the journey. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This is a saying that is hard for perfectionists to embrace. But if you are thinking only of the impossible destination, you won’t experience the joy of the process. You will hate your writing time, and then you’ll ask yourself: Why am I even writing in the first place? Continue Reading…

Is the Voice of the Oppressor” Hindering Your Productivity?

I remember studying Camus’s The Plague in high school, and the discussion in class still lingers in my ear.

Joseph Grand, a clerk in the municipal government, confesses to Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of the story, that he is writing a “book or something of the sort.” When Rieux asks Grand if he is “getting good results,” Grand answers, “Well, yes, I think I’m making headway.” Rieux then asks, “Have you much more to do?” to which Grand responds, “That’s not the point . . . I can assure you that’s not the point.”

What does Grand want? He wants his manuscript to be “flawless.”

Anne Lamott says in her wonderful book Bird by Bird about aspiring writers:

“They kind of want to write, but they really want to be published.” However, she notes, “Publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is.” Continue Reading…

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