Yesterday I asked a man at my gym how his book was going, and he panicked. My inquiry was supportive, not to make him feel bad for not writing. Whether we have a day job or are lucky enough to write full time, sitting down to write is difficult for most writers, myself included. Sometimes an innocent question like how’s your book going leads to guilt, imposter syndrome, and feeling like a failure. Don’t beat yourself up. Procrastination is part of being creative. Often, procrastination is when our subconscious is working on ideas.
I encourage everybody to change their perspective. Instead of feeling bad about how little time you spend writing, feel proud about the time you spend writing. Some days I write for hours, others just a few minutes. It all depends on my schedule and energy level.
If you are struggling to sit down to write, try this trick. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write without stopping. If you get in the flow, keep it up. If not, that’s okay too. You can make a lot of progress 10 minutes at a time. I know one woman who wrote the first draft of her first novel longhand in her car while she waited in the carpool pickup line.
Instead of feeling like we have to be in the right headspace and have a lot of energy and time, write for just a few minutes each day. Keeping that commitment to yourself will make you feel better about your project and give you confidence. And if you feel better, you’ll want to write more.
When someone asks you about your latest writing project, don’t feel bad. Instead, look on it as support and interest in what you are doing. You don’t have to give them a long drawn-out answer about where you are in your project or what it’s about. Just say it’s going great! And keep writing.
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