If you’re a beginning writer, chances are pretty good that you’ve told yourself one of these lies at some point or another. How do you know if you’ve fallen prey to one of these lies? You’re not doing precisely what you love—writing.
Lie #1: To be a writer, you have to be born with it (which sounds like, “Jane is such a great writer. She was totally born with it. Life’s so unfair.”)
Bollocks. That’s a load of junk. Writing is a skill like any other and can be learned. The fact that I’m writing this and it makes sense is Exhibit A. The fact that I’ve written an Amazon Best Seller is Exhibit B. I definitely wasn’t born with “it”, and depending on your perspective my book might not even be all that great but regardless, I am a writer. If you’re passionate about writing—write. Find the time to write for a total of 15-20 minutes a day.
Lie #2:To begin work, you must know what you’re going to say ahead of time (which sounds like, “I can never think of anything good to write about.”)
No, you don’t. When you’re talking to your Mom on the phone, do you know what you’re going to say 10 minutes from now? Not normally. You trust that you will find the right words at the right time and never doubt you will run out of things to say. The same goes for writing. Most writers learn to write finding the words, the inspiration, the direction along the way. It’s an unfolding process. Follow your thoughts and feelings as you write and you’ll do great. It really is that simple.
Lie #3: Every sentence must be perfect (which sounds like, “I stink at writing. I can never seem to get it right and would die if someone read it.”)
Nonsense. That’s just an excuse for not doing the thing you really want to do: write. Good writers always revise their work. They’d be crazy not to edit. Perfectionism comes from a belief that you’re not enough just as you are. Let me tell you a secret. You are enough simply because you were born. Writing is an expression of your unique perspective, your view on life. It’ll never be perfect, but it could be amazing.
Lie #4: You can’t write unless you have huge blocks of time. Writing, and leading a “normal life”—job, family, career is impossible (which sounds like, “I never seem to find time to do what I want. I’ll find the time to write my novel when kids are out of house.”)
That’s crazy talk and you know it. If you don’t do it now, what makes you think you’ll do it later? I scribbled these blog notes on a piece of paper while eating my breakfast this morning and typed it up waiting for my dinner to cook tonight. Total time = 20 minutes. Write when you have odd chucks of time waiting for an appointment, on the train ride home from work, while the laundry is drying, waiting for your kids in the school pick up line, or perhaps even write instead of watching TV or surfing Facebook. Now that’s a novel idea!
Lie #5: To write you must be inspired with ideas that will change the world (which sounds like, “My writing is terrible and makes no sense.”)
You don’t need your writing to change the whole world, you just need it to change one world—yours. Be inspired to change your own life and let everything else go. You’ll feel more productive, accomplished and abundant when you do. Writing about one experience and how you felt about (connecting your percpetion of the event directly with how you felt about it), for example, can be incredibly healing. You can write to improve your health; you can write to communicate with others. It’s all worth it.