I’ve been answering questions about the writing process since announcing 40 Days To A Finished Book e-course.
Here’s some of the others I’ve written incase you missed them:
- Why Successful Women Entrepreneurs Choose To Write Books
- 7 Ways To Find Your Authentic Voice As A Writer
- How I Have Sold Over $1 Million In Books
Today, let’s talk about how to deal with the fear of failure when creating.
When it comes to writing, you might find yourself spending a lot of time THINKING about writing, AVOIDING writing, TALKING about writing and feeling BLOCKED when finally sitting down to actually write.
See how time consuming it is already… and there’s STILL no writing being done?
After working with thousands of creatives over the last 15 years or so, I know that one of the biggest reasons for avoiding creativity is that we are being held hostage by fear.
The act of creating can bring up so many fears:
- “Who am I to write this book?”
- “Can I REALLY do this?”
- “I don’t have anything original to say!”
- “What if it’s terrible? What if I try my hardest and it isn’t good enough?”
- “What will my parents/partner/children/friends/business colleagues think? What if they think I am untalented or ridiculous? What if they roll their eyes at my book?”
- “I’m not an expert! I’m an imposter and this book will be evidence of that!”
- “What if this hurts or negatively affects any of my family/friends?”
- “There are so many other things I should be doing instead of creating. I’m a terrible person/wife/mother if I spend my time writing instead of taking care of other people!”
- “I do NOT have time to write. There’s no way I can fit this in!”
And on and on and on…
The excuses seem endless. The fears seem insurmountable.
NO FREAKING WONDER IT TAKES SO LONG TO WRITE A BOOK!
But here’s the thing:
Writing a book actually doesn’t TAKE that long.
The actual writing process can be pretty fast when you’re not spending your time dicking about with fears. It’s why I’ve been able to write books in a month in a couple of hours a day.
So let’s talk about how to get rid of the fear so you can actually get to writing!
Here’s some practical ways to get your fears to shush it so you can become hugely more productive and actually get your book DONE.
#1: Give your fear another job to do.
Write it a letter.
“Possum, I get it. You are trying to keep me safe. I so appreciate how much you care about me. However, you’re not helping me in doing the thing I need and want to do right now. Instead, can you please help by doing this VERY IMPORTANT JOB i.e. guarding my writing time/using my subconscious powers to find the answer to world peace/whispering love songs to my cells as I work. Thank you so much darling. Let’s go make miracles together.”
#2: Give yourself a short, sharp deadline.
For example, when I wrote the 40,000 word compendium that became my Double Your Biz e-course, I set myself a month to do it.
#3: Give yourself even smaller, sharper daily deadlines in a compressed writing period.
That deadline for my Double Your Biz compendium? My daily goal became very simple: write 3,000 words before sunset. I was sick with hyperemesis gravidarum, and had a short window in the afternoon where I could sit upright. By the time the sunset, I would be ill again. So I needed to write as much as I could in that short time window.
You don’t have to be ill to do the same however. If I was doing it again now, I would set aside 1-2 hours a day with a word limit to have reached.
#4: Fuck the distractions.
I use a Self Control app on my computer to stop me from me being able to access time wasting websites while I’m working. Facebook, Youtube, Buzzfeed, gossip websites are what I tend to find myself visiting when I am avoiding doing something. Using an external boundary to prevent me is a massive time saver. I also don’t keep my phone in my office to prevent the Instagram scroll from happening.
#5: Use the power of accountability.
Find a writing partner or group. Join a writing e-course.
Tell someone – or as many people as you can – that you are writing a book, you want to write # of words and that the deadline is _________. It’s incredibly motivating, and I always get that much more done when I know I’m being watched!
I have a friend who wants to write more poetry. She asked me to be her writing accountability partner. I agreed, and asked her to define what success looked like. Writing more poetry is a really vague goal, and you won’t know if you are being successful at it or not. She had a think and decided her goal was to write poetry for 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Which was awesome – it was something I could hold her accountable to, and it was a very real, concrete action she could take and know she was completing her intention.
#6: Remember it is NOT your job to second guess yourself. Your job is to create.
I deeply believe that our stories need to be heard. That the things that are inside us – our journey, our experience, our wisdom, our gold – are great gifts that are needed in the world. Our stories can heal us as we write them, and they can heal others when they read them.
I believe that when you have an idea for a book, it is a divinely ordained request from the angels. They know that this creation is needed in order to help and heal the world. And so they plant the seed with you, in the hope you will birth it into the world.
With this kind of divine ordinance at play, who are we NOT to create? When the world needs the soul gold that lives inside us, who are we to ignore that mission?
Example Time: This is not about a book. But this is about a divine writing mission.
A few months ago, I had a strange feeling. I knew I was supposed to be writing a letter to someone I barely knew. I knew this person was going through a very difficult time. And I kept having this feeling that if I just opened up a page, and wrote to him, there would be things to say.
I had fears of course: What is this person going to think? Is it going to be the right message? Will I offend their religious beliefs by sharing the message I could hear? And who am I to do this?
But I knew I needed to nonetheless. The angels have blessed me again and again. They have given me so truth and wisdom and creative ideas that have healed me time and time again. Who am I to ignore them on this?
I should say here: I am NOT someone who hears the angels constantly. I only hear them clearly when I am writing. I can take dictation from them. I can occasionally hear them outside of writing – like in a sacred women’s circle, in dreams or in nature. They also came with my daughters’ spirits when both of them wished to be conceived. But that’s by the by. I just wanted to say – I wouldn’t regard myself as being super intuitive, or someone who talks to angels everyday. Reading back over this though, I definitely sound like a MASSIVE HIPPY however. Bahahahaha!
Anyways, the angels had given me a mission. And EVEN THOUGH I was scared, EVEN THOUGH I was not sure how it would be received… I knew I needed to do my job, and turn up, and respond to that divine calling.
I did. I wrote it, sent it, and gave it up to the world. I’d done my job. That was all that was needed.
I got a long email today, months after my mission missive message. It was a beautiful thing, coming full circle. He wrote to tell me what a bad place he had been when he’d received my email, and how my writing him had felt like God was speaking to him, reminding him that he was loved. That it was a touchstone for his healing.
And it was such a blessing, of course, to know that the mission I’d been given had worked as intended. But even if I hadn’t heard from him and hadn’t known the effect it would have, I still would have done the right thing.
The right thing is to create. The right thing is to heed the call of your creative soul and the call of the angels. The feeling you receive from doing it is indescribable. It is the closest to transcendence I have ever come.
The World Needs Us.
It’s time to get out of our own way, and get on with our all important mission.
We need to write our way to our own healing… and let those words free into the world to heal others too.
Fuck the fears. There is too much beauty waiting for us out the other side.
Further writing resources to help:
And most of all… WRITE. Just do the freaking thing already. WRITE like your life depends on it. And being healed by that process.
As I always say:
Let’s go make miracles happen!