Chances are, if you clicked on this article, you’re someone who loves to write. Probably you’ve got a Word document minimized on your computer at this very moment, and you’ve opened WordPress to procrastinate while still feeling productive by only clicking on articles that pertain to writing, or how to write, or how to get better at writing, or how to write quicker…etc, etc.
That’s what I’m doing, anyway. My novel is currently percolating behind several internet tabs, trying its best to filter through the noise and get me to pay attention to it.
But it’s hard. It’s so, so hard to write, even for people like us, who love the process and the end result so much that we’ve dedicated a large portion of our time and energy to it.
So, why is it so hard? What keeps us from typing diligently and constantly? From producing more than we consume? From reaching our self-imposed goals?
We put pressure on ourselves. The blank page is a catalyst for limitless potential.
You could write a masterpiece.
But it’s just as probable that you won’t. The more likely scenario is that you’ll write something that kind of sucks. And then you’ll have to fix it. Maybe only once. Maybe twice. Maybe six times, until it’s something you can be proud of.
That probability of failure is too daunting.
We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect the first time, and if we’re not, we hate ourselves. We doubt our skills.
The fear of the unknown. The fear of failure. The fear that, even if you do what you set out to, it won’t resemble what you’d intended.
That maybe you aren’t good enough. That maybe you don’t deserve a chance.
If you never finish a project, you’ll never be faced with disappointment.
Well. You’ll be disappointed you never finished. But you won’t be disappointed with your abilities. If you never put words down on paper, there’s no proof that you couldn’t, if you really tried hard enough.
The sheer volume of time it takes to create a good piece of writing is overwhelming when looked at as a whole. It takes months, sometimes years, for a novel to be written. Our days are already busy enough, filled with work and family and hobbies, housework and a commute and, you know, a healthy amount of sleep.
How does anyone find time to do it all? It seems impossible.
Luckily, you aren’t struggling through this alone. And there are tried and true ways to overcome the barriers we build around our own potential.
Realize that Perfection is Impossible
Seriously. Nothing is perfect. It’s just not possible.
Not only because perfection doesn’t exist, but because there are billions of people on this planet, all with their own unique perspectives, all with their own unique tastes. Something you create might be just what one person needs, but might annoy someone else so much that they block all of your content.
It’s hard to look past your initial hard work and recognize that making something good takes consistency and repeat attempts, that just because something doesn’t come out perfect the first time, doesn’t mean you and everything you do is terrible.
Besides, you haven’t failed. You’ve started. And honestly, that’s the most important part.
Use Your Fear
If you’re afraid, that means you already understand that failure is possible.
So let that motivate you. Let it drive you to create something that is completely and authentically you.
If you’re going to fail, fail spectacularly. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Do what you love; create what you want to see out in the world.
Only you can create what you can create. Fail messily and often and with vigor, and eventually, you’re going to create something breathtaking.
An average book is 50,000 – 90,000 words long.
That’s a lot of words.
But think about it. If you write 1,000 words a day, it will only take you three months to finish an entire novel.
Three months. That’s doable. That’s pie.
If 1,000 in a day still seems like a lot, try writing sprints. Set a timer on your phone for 8 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, and don’t look up from your writing until the alarm sounds. You’d be surprised at how much you can get written in such a small window.
And really, any amount is progress. Only have 10 minutes to spare all day? Write. Get 200 words down. That’s a full paragraph. That’s a page of dialogue.
You can do it.
Writing is hard work. It tears up your soul. Chews it. Spits it out.
But you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Remember that pressure creates diamonds. You can harness the things that are holding you back and make them work for you.
You just have to get started.