In our Creation in Flow weekly writer’s group, we are bringing to light the beliefs, or habitual thinking that can take us off the writing trail. As they say, monsters live in the dark, and this group of writers has been bravely taking out their flashlights. One gremlin we found lurking in the corner is the classic, “I don’t have anything unique to say.”
Another is the Eeyore-like refrain that: “Whatever I do it is ‘not enough,’” as in, “This week, I wrote several letters and a series of announcements for an event I’m leading, but I didn’t get much writing done.” (Eeyore = depressed donkey in Winnie the Pooh who could find a cloud for any silver lining.)
Also squeaking in the dark were: “My piece isn’t as interesting as X’s or Y’s,” and its relative, “I’m not talented.”
Another skulker: “The people in the group who praise my work every week are just humoring me. The group member who shared his critical view after a meeting is the one telling the truth.”
In my case, I found a green-faced praise-junkie who expects kudos for virtually any effort—and if it isn’t forthcoming, tells me I should quit and try something else until I get that quick “high” of “success” or praise.
What is it for you? Do you still hear the voice of a teacher who told you that you “don’t have what it takes” to write well, or who doubted that the imaginative, sophisticated story you turned in in the fourth grade was really written by you? Did someone teach you that “being a good writer” means having perfect spelling and grammar? (A big “Ha!” to that one, speaking as someone who has written plenty of boring drafts in perfect English!)
Is there a little gargoyle whispering that if you share your stories, you will look stupid? Or sappy? That you will be vulnerable? If so, she’s right. You do run that risk. It’s even likely. However, what your little web-winged, snaggle-toothed “friend” doesn’t want you to know is that: Daring to risk looking stupid or sappy, to be vulnerable, in order to share what matters to you, and what might illuminate the path for others, is a badge of honor you should wear with pride. (See Brené Brown on vulnerability if you are still thinking this is a sign of “weakness.”)
Identifying the monsters that take us off track is a strategic part of getting back on.
What takes you out?
What Brings You Back?
“Fear makes us run wildly. Love makes us move intelligently.”
~Carol Tiggs in The Art of Dreaming, by Carlos Castaneda
If you took the monster medicine and you’ve strayed from the path of getting your song, story, book, poem or article written, how do you get back on track?
I’ve created a free PDF with some tips that work for others, and just might work for you! Subscribe to this site (see the bottom of the page, or the “contact” page) and it shall be instantly yours.
And: I’d love to hear your experience, challenges and victories related to straying from and getting back on the writer’s trail. Please share in the comments below.