Friday, March 28, 2014


My yoga teacher asks the class at the beginning of every session to repeat the words

I will let go of expectation.

I will let go of judgment.

I will let go of competition.

It’s a powerful way to start our yoga poses. I believe it’s a great way to start a day of writing as well.

We set up so many mental roadblocks when we write.

We are afraid of rejection.

We are afraid of getting a bad review.

We are afraid of not getting a review.

We are afraid of selling too few books.

We are afraid that we have no imagination.

We are afraid that we are just not good enough.

And if you forget for a while, there is someone sitting on your shoulder while you write, whispering all your doubts and fears in your ear.

It can be very hard to overcome these obstacles but you have to because they can paralyze your writing.

Nigel Watts says in Write a Novel and Get it Published that “Like little squirmy things that live under rocks, our negative beliefs don’t like the light of day: they are at home in the dark where they are unchallenged.”

So challenge them.

Along with expectation, judgment and competition, jealousy can rear its ugly head.

In bird by bird Anne Lamont says that “jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer.” She laments the writers “who will get the place on the bestseller list, the movie sales, the huge advances, and the nice big glossy pictures in the national magazines where the photo editors have airbrushed out the excessively long eyeteeth, the wrinkles and the horns. They will buy houses, big houses, or second houses that are actually as nice, or nicer, than the first one. And you will want to throw yourself down the back stairs, especially if the person is a friend.

Well. We’ve all felt like that. 

So what do we do about it? I don’t have any brilliant solutions but I do think little rituals can help. Keep inspirational sayings posted on cards where you can see them easily.  If you have already published a book, sit back and read a chapter and tell yourself you can do it again. Approach your writing in small steps, one word at a time. Laugh out loud when you write a funny line.

If all else fails, make yourself a strong cup of tea. I have an oversized tea cup with the words A cup of tea solves everything written around the rim. It helps.

There is a French expression

 Vouloir c’est pouvoir.   To want to is to be able to.

That’s an inspiring thought. I read it every day on a card on my bulletin board. Because I do want to. Despite the fears and doubts I want to keep writing.



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