Dear Writerly Woman,
Do you ever find yourself sitting down to write, but instead going to the kitchen to grab something to eat or to the couch to turn on the TV?
Do you ever beat yourself up about this, wishing you could stop procrastinating and start writing?
Today, I want to share my best suggestions for how you can break free from this cycle, because I know how painful it can be.
I hate feeling like a failure because once again I watched an hour of Netflix instead of writing.
I hate the feeling that my writing won't ever get done, because I just can't get myself to sit down and type.
Here are 3 steps I take whenever I find myself avoiding writing. They help me calm my fear, so I can get more words on the page with more ease.
Try them out the next time you sit down to write!
Step 1: Acknowledge what's really going on
I've beat myself up a lot for procrastinating, wondering why I can't just force myself to write, especially when I get deep into avoiding a project.
But here's the deal, I usually avoid writing not because I'm lazy or lack discipline, but because I'm afraid.
When I sit down to write and see the blinking cursor on my screen, I often feel an immediate jolt of anxiety. What will I say? How will I say it? What will everyone think?
This anxiety is what makes me run away from my writing and run towards the kitchen or Netflix.
For me, procrastinating is a way to avoid the discomfort of my fear.
Acknowledging what's really going on is a powerful step to take instead of procrastinating, because it means I am longer avoiding my fear, and this is the first steps towards not avoiding writing.
There's tons of advice out there on how to handle fear, but the very first thing I do is thank it.
I think about where my fear came from - about the schoolyard bullies or the times I've been shamed when I've used my voice.
I acknowledge there is a reason I'm afraid. This fear isn't irrational. This fear is trying to protect me.
I respect it for that. It's a compulsion towards something good.
Then I talk to my fear. I thank it for trying to protect me.
Fear wants to be heard. It wants to make sure its message is coming through.
Saying thank you to my fear helps me calm down, because the fear no longer has to struggle to be heard. It's this calm that helps me move on to Step 3.
After acknowledging my fear and thanking it for trying to protect me, the only thing left to do is not run away.
Here's what I do: I literally just sit down, look at my screen, and say nice things to myself while I don't jump up to do other things.
During this step, I don't force myself to write. I just look at the screen and tell myself how much courage I have to do this.
I was bullied in school and now I'm so freaking brave. My grandmothers would have been amazed at my being a woman with a voice in the world!!
If I don't run away for long enough, I eventually get interested in the page in front of me. I start thinking about what I want to write. Maybe a sentence or two comes to mind, and then suddenly I'm typing.
This step takes courage, but if you can do it, you're golden. You will officially be not procrastinating!
The trick is to not run away long enough for your thoughts to turn towards your writing.
As they say in 12 step groups - "Don't quit until the miracle happens."
Ok. Those are the three steps. Give it a try and see it how it goes.
Remember, all you ever after to do is write one word at a time.
You can do it. I believe in you!
P.S. I am currently accepting new private coaching clients!! My writing program is for you if you would love to experience more ease with your writing, less fear, and more words on the page. Read more about the program here , and reply to this email if you have any questions!
P.P.S. I'm doing Book Riot's 2019 "Read Harder Challenge"! I'm cutting it close with the deadline, so I'm only reading short books for the rest of the year. If you'd like a list of interesting short books you can read, I'm adding all my Book Riot books to this reading list. Let me know if you read any of them or if you have good book suggestions for me. :)