Over the years, I have spoken to a lot of people who have confessed in low, embarrassed tones, "I've always wanted to write a book... but... I just can't..."
Writing is HARD. Listen, if writing was easy? Everyone would do it. But the big secret is that writing is just as hard for us folks cranking out the books as it is for you. Let that sink in for just a moment. If it is hard, it means you're normal.
You figuring out how to overcome these challenges will be the greatest gift you receive. The tools you pick up to face the monumental task of writing a book will bleed into the rest of your life and the rest of your life will become more efficient, more effective, and more powerful.
This post is about how to silence all of the little voices in your head that are telling you that you can't do this. This post is about how to turn something you WANT to do into something you believe you CAN do.
The biggest roadblock I hear from frustrated writers is that they have no time. I hear you. But, to be fair, I wrote The Woodcutter and the first three Maggie books while I was juggling a full-time job and a full-time acting career and going to school to become an x-ray tech, while also taking care of my household.
There is a great little book (and it's free on Kindle!) called How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. It was written at the turn of the century. The basic premise is that money comes and goes, but time? Time is our most valuable commodity. Prince or pauper, everyone only gets 24 hours a day and we each get to choose how to spend it.
So, how do you manage your time? I, personally, am a BIG fan of lists. I'll go into my own habits in a later blog post, but right now everyone I know is swearing by their Bullet Journal. It is a way of organizing your life in bulleted lists and it is pretty cool. There's a really nice video on that site and you can pick up a cheap journal at Michael's for a couple bucks and get started today.
I also found myself getting into the habit of getting up, getting a cup of coffee, slogging to my computer, and watching my life get sucked away by Facebook. The rest of the day was doom and gloom as I mulled over all the horrible things happening in the world. No matter how much I tried to change this habit, it always snuck back in.
So, I began a thing this week called The Miracle Morning and, I gotta say, it is pretty frickin' miraculous. The premise is that if you start your morning off right, the rest of the day falls into place. And what does starting your morning off right mean? Ten minute chunks devoted to a little exercise (I use it to gently stretch), a little journaling, positive reading, some meditation (there's an app my sister introduced me to called Calm which is lovely), some affirming self-talk, and visualization. You know, all the stuff that people say is good for us. This idea is what sold me on starting:
"Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become."
But what has been THE most powerful tool for me? It s a program called The Artist's Way (I recommend buying this particular book in paperback. The Kindle version has some funky formatting issues that makes it hard to read.) I TOTALLY thought it was stupid the first time I heard about it.
And then I read an interview with the gal who played Pam in The Office. She said that when she started doing The Artist's Way, that's when things changed for her. Soooo... I picked up a copy. I started doing it and things... just changed. I can't explain why or how. But by doing the exercises, I began trusting my instincts, began trusting my dreams, and I began honoring and protecting my artistic soul. It's been close to a decade since I first picked it up, but I still go through the process several times a year. The Artist's Way will unblock your blocks, it will address all of those things holding you back, and it will give you practical tools to walk boldly and bravely onto your road less traveled.
Invest a little time in yourself. Figure out your dreams and goals. Take care of your brain and body. Decide you're worth $9.99 for a paperback that will change your life. It is in acknowledging the value and worth of your true self that you will find the strength to share your story.