I’ve had trouble keeping my momentum going lately, mostly because I feel pulled in a lot of directions at once, especially when it comes to my writing. So I thought it might be helpful to explore some of the things that are standing in my way, to examine what they’re doing there, and why.
What stands in my way:
I am my most formidable foe. I am always the first to say I’m not good enough or that I can’t do something, especially when it comes to my writing. I’ve been knee-deep in edits lately, and it wasn’t until I gave myself a break from hyper-analyzing the text that I actually started to make some headway. To be more satisfied with my work.
A great quote in this blog post from Mike Martin also helped: “Your job is not to get the book perfect. Your job is to get the book done.” Fellow perfectionists, take note.
Time management, mostly. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use my time in the best way that I could. There’s a great book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Have I read it yet? Of course not. It’s on my laptop, waiting on my Kindle App. Have I made time to break out my laptop? Of course not. The barrier here? See above.
Facebook is also a very large time-suck. It’s one of those things that holds a great amount of novelty, so I find myself clicking into there much more often than I should. The ironic part is this novelty usually wears out in the space of 5-10 minutes. And then I’m left, staring at the screen, drool hanging out of my mouth, and wondering why I’m so dissatisfied. I cancelled my cable to focus more on my writing. But I need a way to cancel my internet too. There’s a great program for the Mac called Freedom, that turns off your internet temporarily, offering more chances for productivity. But I have a PC–does anyone know of similar programs that are PC friendly? Until I find something, will-power and determination will have to win out.
By nature, writers are empathetic people. Librarians can be too. I’m both, which can make for a heap of anxietywhen those inevitable daily stressors come my way. Imagine a raft whipping in the ocean breeze during a storm. It’s like I don’t have a filter–no way to diffuse the heaps of crap as they fall down on my head.
Consciously, I know that everyone carries crap. All the time. And I know there are many that carry even more than I do. But even with this knowledge, my body still reacts when external factors upset my center of calm. I even got a skin rash this past week because of it.
Am I going to have to get over this to be a successful writer? Absolutely–and I’ve heard that the process of getting published is one of the most stressful things there is. So I’m looking for ways to deal–and finding them wherever I can.
- Not saying no.
A friend recently told me, “For every yes there should be a no.” This is very wise advice, and something I haven’t yet consciously thought of when agreeing to things.
Saying yes too often turns into a prioritization problem. What commitment to do first, and who will be let down if you don’t do something right away? What matters, and what doesn’t?
Saying yes to everyone doesn’t do you a service, and if anything, it makes you more likely to let down the people you’re trying to please in the first place. But still, for some odd reason, it’s hard to say no. I know, because I still struggle with it.
Ultimately, it’s a lesson in putting yourself first. Try saying yes to yourself more often than saying yes to others. And I’ll try, too.
What about you? What are some things that stand in your way? Feel free to post below. And stay tuned for, “What keeps you going?”
I don't know about a program that shuts off the internet for PC, but if you use Firefox, there's a plugin called Leechblock that you can use to block yourself from specific websites for a specified period of time. I have occasionally found that helpful. (Obviously time management is one of my issues as well – and all the others you mentioned!)
Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely look into that. Glad you found the post helpful!
Sometimes it helps to ask your partner or housemate to bump you off the computer ( just don't pull out your favorite wireless device instead!)