There are numerous myths that prevail in our culture, here are some of them:
Painters: Poor, starving artist
Entrepreneurs: Outwork and outlearn your competition
Athletes: Go hard or go home, no pain no gain
Writers: Beware the dreaded Writer’s Block
How many articles have been written about the writer staring at a blank page? How many visuals of the desk or typewriter (back in the day) surrounded by crumpled wads of paper?
So… you can buy into these myths, or not. Let me give you another story: I’ve written and published 17 books and dozens of articles, and I have NEVER had writer’s block.
I’ve also never forced myself to write, or set aside structured time in which to write. Fifteen of those books were written while I also had young children (3 in total) and my own business. Whaaaaaaaa? That doesn’t even makes sense, right?
Well here’s the secret, it’s called FLOW.
Only Write About Things That Turn Your Crank
First of all, only write about things you are passionate about. If you want your work to feel like fun, you need to choose something you love. Here’s how you determine whether – or how much – you love something: When you are doing X do you lose track of time? Do you look up, or the phone rings and somehow an hour (or 4) has disappeared? When time disappears like that, it’s because you’ve dropped into the zone. Flow, the zone, bliss, all exist outside the time-space continuum. And when something resonates with your soul to the level of love, you experience flow; you drop into your zone.
And guess what? It feels great! It doesn’t feel like work, it isn’t something you dread. It doesn’t feel hard. It feels challenging (in a thrilling way), you feel invigorated, vibrant, you feel your chi (life force energy) pulsing through your being. You feel the peace of deep satisfaction, your heart opens to the abundance of the universe. Because the true state of nature, or the universe is FLOW.
And like the tide in the ocean, with flow comes ebb. So when my flow ebbs, I don’t force myself to write or work! Nope. I go to the beach. I spend the day with my horses and dog. I get chores done, go shopping, help my kids with a project of theirs. It’s called balance. And balance is a crucial part of flow.
Think of the moon, the tide, trees blooming, caterpillars – it’s all part of the rhythm of nature. Where there’s an ebb and a flow; a blossoming and a dormancy. If you force yourself to write every day, day after day, you are going against the basic rhythm of life – how can that be a good thing?
So during ebb, you must NOT beat yourself up for not getting any writing done! You must welcome ebb, enjoy it and have complete trust that when the time is right, flow will return. Because balance is the essential nature of the universe.
Get Clear on Your WHY
The next piece of never having writer’s block is to get clear on your WHY before you start.
Why do you want to write this book, or article, or tutorial? Who will benefit? Why do they need it? How will it help them? What’s the purpose?
Do you want to open people to laughter – because laughter is very healing and helps many to cope with darkness? Do you want to entertain them and provide them with a way to escape the drudgery or meaninglessness of their everyday lives? Do you want to explore an esoteric concept and start a dialogue? Do you want to explore dark or evil energy as a process of understanding, or an excavation of your own psyche, and then throw that out there and see what happens?
If your WHY is: I want to become a famous author and sell lots of books. Or, I need to make money and this seems like a good way to do that. Or, I love books and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Then … hello writer’s block! Because you’re not going to be writing in flow, you’re going to be writing in ego – good luck with that.
It’s the same thing as someone saying, “I want to be a speaker.” What??
Versus: “I have this burning message that I want to share with people.” or “I discovered something that changed my life, or set me free, and I want to share that with others so they can experience this awesomeness.”
The first statement is rooted in ego and the WHY is only about being the center, the focus; standing on a stage and having all the faces turned to you, all the ears listening to you as you shine and receive accolades. Barf. Yeah, you may become a speaker, but will you be a great speaker? Will your Ted Talk go viral (like Brene Brown’s?). Will you be remembered a decade from now?
When your WHY behind your book, or article comes from a place that’s bigger than your ego; a place of meaning, or healing, or exploration, or rigor, or love, or teaching, or playfulness, then you will automatically step outside your ego (which is also where your doubts and insecurities live) and enter the FLOW of creation.
Here are some encouraging words from Seth Godin’s eBook, We Are All Artists:
Art isn’t something sold in a gallery or performed on a stage. Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another. Most painters, it turns out, aren’t artists at all — they are safety-seeking copycats.
Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map — these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.
Speaking up when there’s no obvious right answer, making yourself vulnerable when it’s possible to put up shields, and caring about both the process and the outcome — these are works of art that our society embraces and the economy demands.
Do NOT Write A BOOK!
Lastly, throw out the idea of WRITING A BOOK. Don’t even think of “writing a book”. Instead, think of writing letters, or emails to someone. For example, each “chapter” is basically just an “idea”.
So for each idea you start an email (e.g. Hi Jini…) and then start writing about your idea.
And that really, truly is IT. When you’re done, you put your ‘ideas’ together and THEN you can call them Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.
That’s all it takes to write a book! OR you do the same thing, but you voice record it. Maybe each “idea” is an interview with someone that you record. Then you get the recordings transcribed. Here’s a great gal I use on Fiverr.com who even proofs as she transcribes.
Likewise, if you’re writing an article, then it’s not an article! It’s ONE email to a friend who’s interested in that topic – write directly to them. Go ahead, actually open up your email program and start typing! When you’re finished, email it to yourself. Let it sit for a day or two, then open it up and read it. Copy/paste it into a Word document and voila, you’re done!
At this point don’t even think about editing. Just get your ideas down on paper, in type, or recorded voice.
Once you have your ideas down, then put them all together. Your first edit is just to organize those ideas into one Word document. Come up with a working title, chapter names, sub-headings, charts, checklists, illustrations and anything else you might want to add to make it a book that YOU would like to read.
Then let that Word .doc sit for 2-4 weeks. You need to leave it sit between edits so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.
Your second edit is to fix stuff, or polish it, or add stuff you realize is missing. Then let your manuscript (the Word .doc) sit for 2 more weeks.
Your third edit is to get feedback and see if you missed anything. It’s time to let your baby leave the nest and have some new fresh eyes look it over. Send it to at least 2 people who LOVE the topic and get their feedback on your ideas, what they wish you had included, what would make it better, what they love about it (Tip: make note of what they love and use this for the back of your book and book promotion copy). If you have them email you their feedback, you will already have it in written form (hello, copy/paste!).
After you’ve made the changes suggested by your idea editors (changes that made sense and felt good to you), it’s time for Proofreading!
Proofreading differs from editing in that you are not looking to change any ideas, flow, concepts etc. Proofing is just about catching and fixing mistakes. So for the first proof of your book (yes you can safely call it a book now) send the manuscript to the most anal retentive, nit-picky, clean freak person you know, and ask them to look for errors. Fix whatever they find.
Now give it to your 2nd most nit-picky friend who is also an English major, or language teacher, or similarly qualified person, and have them to do the final proofread for spelling, grammar, etc. OR pay a copy editor to do the final proof.
When you’re ready to print your book, or just get it out there as an eBook, come on over to Listen To Your Freedom and I’ll show you how to turn that 1 book into an automated money-generating machine for you. My first book spawned a million dollar+ business and I’ll show you step-by-step how I did it. I’ll even show you how to get your book out there for free (i.e. no printing, graphic design or sales costs)!
Alternatively, if you don’t want to think big picture and you just want to get this 1 book out there, check out BookBaby and let them do it for you.
Start Your Email!
So go ahead, write your first email about X to your friend, mom, or yourself. Press SEND.
Congratulations – Chapter 1 is done!
I’m not joking, it’s really that easy. Go ahead and try it. Just one email…
* * *
In the Listen To Your Freedom program, we are all about hope and belief in yourself; combined with the tools and roadmap you need to make your online business successful – and create the life of freedom you first envisioned for yourself. Even if you already have a business or a website, if it’s not making you the kind of money you want, it’s because there’s a piece missing, or some crucial elements need to be tweaked. Click Here for all the program details…