Why We Don't Write
In the ten years
that I've taught people how to get on with their books, I've
noticed a phenomenon that I'll
call "Author's Block.” Would-be writers can, indeed,
sit down and work when pressed to it. The problem is that they're
not so sure they want the pressure of
being an author. But they do want to. But they don't. And so on.
Ah, the agony of getting on with your book.
Well, I'm here to diffuse that situation
with a list of what I
think are the key reasons we don't immediately set down to write.
Perhaps this will help the next time you find yourself polishing
doorknobs instead of sitting down to write.
- We lie to ourselves about why we can't
write the book. We think our stalling is about lack of time,
or too much pressure at work,
or not enough solitude in the evening. But guess what? Chances are
a deeper, darker reason may be at play, like 'I'm not supposed to
be bigger than Mom' or 'What if this thing really takes off?'
- We fear the impact our book
could have. Sometimes when I coach writers in my self-help author's crash
course, I'll ask them what's
impeding progress. And after some probing, it will come out that
they're afraid of the big exposure a book can have if it takes off.
I'm here to assure you that should that happen, (and chances are
your book will not unleash wild mobs of millions) you will be able
to handle it. How do I know? On that deep level where psyche meets
karma, you won't create a reader more than you're ready to receive.
- We think our book doesn't matter, so why
bother? One writer I
know put this so succinctly: "I've tried getting up at 5AM
write, and staying up late, and leaving my home, but none of it
works. I have this tired feeling that none of it's going to amount
to a hill of beans.” In fact, writing and publication can be an
entirely self-determined activity these days. If the publishing
pundits don't go for your book, there's always self-publishing and
e-books on your website. In other words, your book does matter, and
you really have no excuse. (Acid test: if the book keeps on
patiently urging you to sit down and write it for months and even
years, chances are you'd better do it.)
- We think we don't know how to write a book. Guess
what? Neither does any other first time writer. And that may
be a wonderful thing
because you don't come in with a carload of expectations and demands
from your process. You're just open, like… well, a nice blank
book. All you really need is your intuition, and the will to write
book as honestly as you can.
- We have no support. You need
someone in your corner, cheering you
on, to get through the long and somewhat tiring process of birthing
a book. That's why my Self-Help Author's Crash Course is not an
e-book (believe me, it would be easier!) but a 12-week teleclass
series. Because these writers need a place to show up and be
accountable for their progress. They need someone to keep saying,
'Yes, you really can do this.” That's how tricky and difficult
our minds are when it comes to big challenges.
- We're afraid we'll run out of material. There
isn't a writer out there who hasn't had this fear. And I'm here
to say that if you
just stay loose and open, and willing to receive the ideas, they
will show up. All you have to do is commit — really sit down, and
begin to bring that book into being — and the work will magically
appear. Sometimes it won't flow that easily, and sometimes it will
scare you with it's speed and power. But it will, indeed, show up.
- We think 'Who am I to write a book?' And
yet, you are the perfect person to write your book, because
you're the one chosen to receive
this material. (You don't have to be spiritually inclined to
believe this.) I personally believe that books are given to us when
we're ready to receive them… and when we do, our lives are changed
by that process.
- We fear uncomfortable moments. Ah, but
that's the most exciting thing about writing your book. You will
be given challenges and
lessons that just seem untenable along the way. And if you're
committed enough, you'll rise above them and so become stronger in
the process. This is especially true for self-help books: we write
what we need to learn.
here to urge you to just get on with your book. Not only do you
deserve it — so do we.
© 2003 Suzanne Falter-Barnes
About the Author
For more information on how you can find
the support to turn your good idea into a published book, go to www.howmuchjoy.com.