Sunday, April 26, 2015

Taping Duct Tape Across Your Inner Voice's Mouth

I'm having the darnedest time with the latest book.

I keep hating what I'm doing.

I keep worrying that what I'm doing isn't good.

I keep stalling and watching The Office.


Then I saw this: Writing is hard because "it is our irrational beliefs about writing that actually impede our progress more than, say, an uncomprehending public, transitions in publishing, or a lack of spare time." (Source: Why is Writing So Hard?)

The original article goes into the Seven Irrational Beliefs humans can have. But I rather solve being irrational than creating a list of the behaviors (I KNOW how I'm behaving irrationally).

So first of all: the irrational stems from the illogical. How do we stop being illogical? (Cue Spock voice here.)

I went to How to Overcome Irrational Thinking and came away with these main points:

1) Be Mindful.
It's so super easy to get caught up in the day-to-day craze. The mom thing, the wife thing, the teacher thing, the writing-a-hard-book thing. I know that I've stopped being mindful when my desk looks like I'm having an office supply yardsale on it. **YES, I SHALL DO THIS.**

2) Use Affirmations.
I don't do this because it's a little too much like that SNL skit: Stuart Smalley stating "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." But I'll do it if it helps. **BUT I'LL TRY IT, POST ITS AND ALL.**

3) Listen to Other People.
The basic idea here is to listen to the constructive and the positive people have told you regarding what you're anxious about. But I like taking it even a step further: What would you tell someone if they a) were in your exact same position professionally and b) had the exact same hang-up? I think this will fit into the affirmation I'll be writing for myself. **YEP, I'M TRYING IT.**

4) Write Things Down.
The idea here is about showing what you have done that negates these anxieties. Be it past accomplishments or current work that is chipping away at the book you're worrying about. **I'M DOING THIS AND IT'S NOT WORKING--NIX.**

5) Challenge Your Thoughts.
I need to force myself to see myself in a different light than I currently do, to create situations I'd be uncomfortable in my current anxious state. For instance, if this was all about being anxious about public speaking, you make yourself speak in public. My anxiety here stems from writing a not-good-enough story. Ere go...write the d*mn story, right? **THIS ISN'T HELPFUL--IT'S TOO BIG PICTURE RIGHT NOW.**

The additional steps I'm thinking about taking:

6) Vent to My Writing Buddies.
The problem with this, however, is that some buddies are caught up in their own issues and I'll get one line of "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this!" and then 10 pages about their problems. I don't need that. **NIX!**

7) Write to the D*mn Outline.
I have one. I stopped using it, though, as I started to doubt myself, thinking the story could be better. **I'LL TRY IT. I'LL FASTWRITE IT AND RIP THE BANDAID OFF FAST AND PAINFULLY, SCREAMING ALONG THE WAY.**

8) Visualize What You Want.
This is simple and dumb but effective at times. I like to draw what I'm visualizing. The outfit I'm wearing as I'm holding the book I've finished in the book jacket I want it to have. Some people have vision boards. That's too much work. I pretty much have a vision picture. **I'LL TRY IT.**

Watch this space to see if my mindful, attentive, affirmative, outline-focused, visualizing way of approaching my writing anxieties is starting to work. Check-in will commence in exactly two weeks: 5/11/2015.

In the meantime...

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Sydney Strand is a writer and mom who has published two books through New York and another five via self-publishing. She writes funny little romances, but not of the Red Room of Pain variety. More like the Dan and Roseanne Connor variety--humor is sexy, dontcha know. You can follow Sydney on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and/or you can sign up for her All Things Awesome Newsletter.


  1. I feel your pain. And while we are talking about me... ;)

    I don't think there are any hard and fast cures and fixes, just like writing rules. Someone once described writing like walking in the woods, without a map, or a path, and are blind, and can't hear.

    It's when we find our own way, on our own terms that's when it sticks.

    But, if you happen to find a sure fire cure, let me know, willya? Thanx. ;)

    1. Mr. D!

      And then there's writing with just the headlights on, only seeing as far as those headlights go.

      I think it's when we think too hard about how much we CAN'T see or hear or know that we go into paralysis.

      Oy. Being human stinks. ;o)


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