“I’m not a writer.”
“No one wants to read what I have to say.”
“My writing is no good.”
“I have no good ideas.”
“How will I ever get an entire book written?”
“What I have to say isn’t important.”
“It’s all been written before.”
“I don’t have time to write.”
“I don’t have the skills.”
Do any of these sound familiar? Are they excuses you’ve been repeating over and over as affirmations to yourself? Has that been working for you? Is your idea, book, big story getting written?
These are all very common symptoms of what is known as Impostor Syndrome. These thoughts and doubts are one common aspect of it, and they tend to actually increase the more successful you get. So lets clear it up right now so you can move forward and be the awesome author you’re meant to be!
I have heard many people share fears, blocks, excuses, very convincing reasons, as to why they can’t or won’t write their book. 81% of people say they want to write a book, and only 3% actually get published. To me, that’s a scary statistic! I love helping people get their words out to the world and share what’s inside them aching to get out.
It doesn’t need to be as difficult or challenging as your head is making it out to be. As I mentioned in a previous article, setting aside 30 minutes a day, and averaging 400 words during that time, can get a 70,000 word book written in under 6 months. The time is going to pass anyway, and you may as well get started one word at a time. Who knows where you can end up!
For others who say they aren’t a writer, if your heart is telling you that you have a story inside, and you want to share it, then you have already taken a big step to be a writer. The biggest requirement of “being a writer” is actually to be writing. There are many tips, tricks, methods to help you do this which I’ll cover in future articles, but for now, just start with one word, add another, and another. Be writing.
I have run countless writing groups that people have come in and shared they “weren’t a writer”, and by the time they create in the flow, and hear feedback of how their words can touch someone, they leave with a little more confidence that they can do this. It is something you can learn, and with the process I teach, you just tap into what’s already inside you. Editors can help with the technical side of things to polish the writing to make you a “good” writer, and that comes with time and practice.
One of my favourite stories to tell when someone expresses that “no one would want to read what they had to say” goes back a few years, before one of my writing classes. I was speaking with a gentleman and he had this idea to write a book to help divorced men. He fussed that he wanted to write it, but figured no one would want to read it. I tried to encourage him along, and when we got to the writing group, he was the only male in a group of 6 women. We started the workshop as we always did, introductions, meditation, starting line, and writing.
When it came time for sharing, he read what he’d written. I looked at him astounded, and said, “You just wrote the intro to your book!” He blushed and looked at me incredulously. When the other women started commenting on what stood out to them, they were all enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to read more. They were excited to hear about this book he was wanting to write, and felt it could help them quite a bit as well. So he thought his target market of divorced men wouldn’t be interested, and here was an even bigger demographic encouraging him to create what was in his heart.
We never know who our words will touch, it is our job to create and share in service. One of my favourite quotes is the reminder, “There is someone out there with a wound in the exact shape of your words,” Sean Thomas Dougherty
When we surrender to the process, the “how” will become clear. We do not have to figure it out before, we just need to get the words onto the page. If we have the idea, we are meant to write it. If a similar idea has been written before, we don’t need to worry. We are the only ones with our experience, our perspective, our vocabulary and our style. Our creation will be different, assuming we don’t set out to copy anyone else. We don’t need to copy or mould ourselves after someone else. We are each unique, with our own ways to express ourselves and that is good enough!
There are many ways to go about writing a book or other creative project, depending on your style. Stay tuned for future articles for some more ideas. For now, play around with different ways until you find one that works for you and run with it. A great reminder from Shannon Hale, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
Write your next creation, one word at a time. If you are called to write it, then it is yours to write. Be writing, someone is looking forward to your story.