RSS

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Fighting Fear, Procrastination, and Self-Doubt

“I’m not good enough…” “This sucks!” “I’ll never get published…Published, hell, you can’t write a decent first line–why are you even thinking about getting published?” Or my favorite…”Why am I even bothering…trying…???”

Most, if not every, creative person has suffered, at some point or other, maybe you’re suffereing from it now, from self-doubt, which is really just plain ole’ fear. But if you turn fear into motivation, if you turn it into something that works for you instead of letting it eat at you and turn into self-doubt, procrastination, then you can finish that book, or that piece of art, or that song or poem you’ve been working on. If you don’t do anything, if you wallow in the fear, letting that self-doubt eat at you, then the fear ends up turning into procrastination and you send up self-sabotaging, which just leads to more fear, more self-doubt, more procrastination..And it’s a vicious cycle, and that’s often what people refer to as “writer’s block.”

What are your fears? Really? The one’s that prevent you from following your dream…from accomplishing the things you really want to do…from finishing that book, or art project, or poem, or screenplay? When I was completing the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course by Julia Cameron, and then working on the exercises in her book The Right to Write, I made lists–lists of my fears. Then I went on to work on those fears, I had to figure out if the fears were real, if they were justified, exaggerated, and what was the underlying cause or reason behind the one’s that were real. I delved into the depths of my fears. And that wasn’t easy.

Once you’ve done that, though, one of the first things most people suggest, from what I’ve found, is to negate those fears with at least a few positive affirmations, traits, facts…You can write out positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them in various places so you’ll see them, or make a lists of them in a journal.

For example, if you fear rejection you can look at how many others were rejected before they were finally published. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are great examples of this.

Another thing you can do is schedule your writing. Make your writing a priority, build a routine, give yourself a deadline (a realistic amount of time, or number of words or pages to complete each day). For example, writing 300 words a day in a year makes a novel…300 words each day for one year equals 109,500 words, or 109,800 words if it’s a leap year.

Expect problems, mishaps, things that may happen, because in real life shit does happen. Adjust accordingly, but don’t let the deadline slide. REMEMBER why you love your story. Why you love writing. And REMEMBER that self-doubt, procrastination, and FEAR feed on each other–Don’t be a victim of that fear.

One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time… and before you know it’s One Day and you’ve finished the first draft of your novel.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Second week of “The Right to Write” by J. Cameron

I’m on my second week of working through the exercises in “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron and I have to say that it is actually helping my writing in a variety of ways. I’m still doing the Morning Pages, which I learned about in “The Artist’s Way,” and I’m also art journaling (or better known as illustrate your life, sketch your life, with an added bit of “Smashbook” style…), and I’ve been inspired to create more in general.

I am doing more creative things on a daily basis. (Part of that is because I’m now using a bullet journal and that has helped tremendously.) I have changed a few of the exercises to fit things for me. Instead of postcards, I sent an email, a letter, a phone call, a message.

I’ve also found that my morning pages are easier to do, better. I started the morning pages with “The Artist’s Way,” but they’ve actually improved since starting this book.

I hope if you’re following along that you are finding this book as helpful as I am.

Here’s the video I made about week 2:

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Right to Write: Days 1-5

The Right to WriteMy first “week,” well almost a week, but since I’m supposed to be doing this on Wednesday’s…But I’m running a bit behind with posting… Life happens.

The first day was titled, “Begin,” and Cameron says to just start writing where you are. That it’s a luxury to be in the mood to write and that being in the mood is not necessary. She also says that “writing is like breathing–it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.”

She goes on to talk about toddlers and how they learn first be grabbing for things, then grabbing with words, and that their words are “personal and powerful,…filled with will and intent…they trust the power of words.” But along the way, usually in school, we lose that power over words, that feeling that we are good at language, and we begin to feel that we might not be good enough with words.

In school your words are critiqued with things like “You stray from the topic a bit here,” or “Stick to the point,” or if you’re me, “Too much fluff.” So we end up learning to doubt ourselves and with that comes self-scrutiny, which results in trying to write “right” so that we sound smart. She gives you an exercise to work on, she calls these the Initiation, and where she talks its called the Invitation.

The second exercise, for my the second day, May 2nd, is “Let yourself Write.” Cameron talks a great deal about writing, being a writer, and what a writer is. My favorite quote from this section is:

“When we just let ourselves write, we get it right.”

The exercise she gives you has to do with what you think being a real writer is. I found it quite interesting, as well as revealing.

On day 3, is “Let Yourself Listen.” She says that “the simplest and smartest thing I ever learned about writing is the importance of a sense of direction.” She goes on to say that writing is “about getting something down, not about thinking something up.” Instead of being an “act of pontification, writing becomes an act of revelation.” We can either “think a plot up” or we can “jot a plot down.”

On Day 4, is the “Time Lie,” and this one really hit home for me. She starts off this section with this powerful sentence.

“If I had a year off, I’d write a novel.”

It’s a lie. A lie. She says that that is a “convenient way to ignore the fact that novels require being written and that writing happens a sentence at a time,” and that you can steal moments to write, and with each sentence and/or moment you write you’ll feel better, good about yourself and your writing.

One of the other things she says that really hit home for me was, “Don’t try to write something perfect; just write…the obsession with time is really an obsession with perfection.”

All of that really hit home for me, and I also saw a quote, which was one of my quotes for the day, which was from Stephen King, “300 words a day in one year’s time is a novel.” Synchronicity.

Day 5, was Track. And she likens writing to laying tracks, like railroad track, getting from point A to point B. She talks about the “rich, fertile, whimsical” side of the brain is for laying track, and the logic brain side is for second drafts. Right brain/left brain.

Some of what she talks about she spoke about in “The Artist Way.” I don’t mind though. Each section has made me think, given me food for thought so to speak, and inspired me. The next morning my morning pages were better. I can’t recommend this book enough. “The Artist’s Way” broke the surface of helping me with the creativity, with my writing. I have a feeling that this book is going to help me delve even deeper underneath the surface. My whole goal for this year, like my word–Positivity, was to change things for the better, to be more positive, to find my inner joy, to live a happier, healthier life and to be a healthier, happier me. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been working on taking back my life, on what I am calling #projectme. I feel like it’s working.

I’ve set up this whole “course” in a journal. I’m excited about all of this and feeling really motivated and inspired. I hope you are as well.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Introduction to The Right to Write (by Julia Cameron)

I’m on day 2 of the exercises in the book “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron and so far I am enjoying it–the Invitation (this is the part where she has written a bit and invites you to do the next part) and the Initiation. Today’s exercise took all of maybe 15-20 minutes, and most of that time was spent reading the Invitation. Yesterday’s exercise took longer but not a long time.

Why read a book about the “right to write?” Because there are times when I feel like I don’t have the right to call myself a writer. When I don’t feel like a true writer, that perhaps I’m not talented enough, or not productive enough, or just not worthy…The self-doubt is real, and I have yet to meet/talk to a writer (or an artist or musician) who doesn’t at one time or another, or at varios times, have self-doubt.

While working on the self-guided course in “The Artist’s Way,” I learned that the self-doubt, procrastination, self-sabotage, writer’s block, etc., all stem from fear. FEAR! I worked through some things but I know that I only scratched the surface of things. Instead of going through “The Artist’s Way” a second time I chose to use this book–“The Right to Write.” I loved what she had to say in the introduciton of this book. If you’re interested, here’s my video about her introduction:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,