This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
― Steven Pressfield
Inspiration is the backbone of our writing career. But many new writers misunderstand what it is and how to use it. Even some of us that have been writing for years can use a reminder about how best to court our muse.
Here are the ways we fail inspiration and how we can make up for our transgressions and become the creative souls we were meant to be.
You only write when inspired
Inspiration arrives when it arrives. There’s no forcing it. But to say you write only when it comes is to misunderstand the nature of this mysterious and magical illumination.
Write often. Don’t wait to put words on the page. Inspiration comes to those who are prepared and one of the ways to be prepared is to master your craft. Not everything you write will be inspired, but as you get better, the likelihood of the muse gifting you becomes greater.
In wanting to master your craft inspiration can show up, but being competitive blocks it. This is so because inspiration is a transcendent aspect of experience ignited by transcendent behavior. In mastering our craft, our confidence and self-esteem grow. They are both facilitated by inspiration and help evoke it.
You don’t give it the opportunity to show up
As mentioned above, waiting for inspiration to strike leads to a hit or miss situation. But we get more hits of inspiration when we take an active role in creating the conditions that allow us to be present and in a receptive state. The problem is we don’t spend much time in such a state in our busy world.
I’ve written about this receptive state in Find Your Writer's AHA!: Discover the Book You Were Meant to Write. To encourage this state, do things to help you let go of the thinking mind like meditation, spending time in nature or simply stare out a window and watch without thought. It takes practice, but this is how to prepare yourself for the arrival of inspiration.
Being prepared by mastering your craft is another way to invite inspiration. Doing the work can lead to inspired ideas. As Steve Pressfield said in the quote above, the muse takes note of our dedication.
You don’t act on it
Inspiration needs action. Ideas come to us more often than we may realize. Only we’re not paying attention or if we notice, we put the idea on the back burner.
The process of inspiration is about expression. Some would say it’s about the Divine expressing through us. If we stilt that process, life literally become uninspired. We close down and shut off our channel to our muse. The important thing to remember is that we can always open it again.
You don’t let it lead
You can either work from inspiration or through your own effort. When you get inspired by an idea let the inspiration lead your work. Often what happens though is you get the idea and then let the rational mind take over.
Studies show what is made through effort can be technically sound but it is not creative like what is made in an inspired state. You know the difference by the flow. When the words come fast and you don’t stop, it’s more creative. When you stop and ponder over the words, you’ve moved down into effort and the work is less creative. This is why it’s best to write in flow first and then edit on the second round.
You don’t use it to set goals
Take a look at these two goals:
I will complete four essays this month.
I will inspire myself and others with my words this month through four essays.
What goal would be more fun? Which one do you want to achieve? The more inspired the goal the more likely you’ll reach it and continue to make and meet inspired goals in the future.
You don’t let yourself be inspired by others
Some new writers refuse to read the work of others for fear they will be influenced and not produce original work. The only thing that happens when you don’t read the work of others is you keep yourself small. You can be inspired in other ways, but reading the works of truly inspired individuals can help you more than you realize.
At first you may emulate their work, but that’s just an early stage of learning. You won’t keep doing it. Eventually you’ll discover the work that inspired you to sameness starts to work its magic and trigger your own unique creativity. Truly, unless you’re working from effort, the work of the inspired can only turn into more inspired work.
Though I was inspired to write about inspiration, reading about it in the article titled “Why Inspiration Matters” by Scott Barry Kaufman in the Harvard Business Review confirmed some of my ideas and helped me add others. I hope you’ll give it a read. I think you’ll find it helpful.
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The advice you hear most about how to improve your writing is to read and write. I have given that advice myself. It’s where every writer needs to start. But in order to truly improve, you need to have the intention to do so and you need to do it on a regular basis.
Here are a few ways to use reading and writing intentionally for the improvement of your craft.
Work with a mentor or editor
The back and forth of working with someone who is a few steps ahead of you or better yet, a professional editor is the apprenticeship of the writer’s craft.
I learned more about writing through writing papers in college and getting feedback, having my editor husband go over my work and getting feedback and in poetry workshops than I would have just reading and writing on my own.
If you’re a pro and getting your work out there, you’ll have the opportunity to do this often. Working with a mentor periodically can help keep your skills sharp.
Give yourself writing assignments out of your comfort zone
If you’re used to writing short essays, try your hand at long ones. If you’re used to writing fiction, write a well-researched, long nonfiction piece. Expand your repertoire and you’ll expand your abilities. We all have preferences in what we write, but stepping outside those now and then gives us new skills and new ways of looking at the world.
Study the work of writers you admire
This is beyond just reading their work. Study it. Write in the margins. Pick it apart. Understand the structure. Join a reading group that does critical reading. Take a class. Get inside a piece of writing and learn how and why it works. And bring what you learn to your own writing. In fact, do so immediately so you can practice what you just learned.
Consistency takes discipline
If you want to be a professional writer, it takes practice. Professional athletes practice often. Professional musicians and artists do, too. They also look for ways to improve on what they do.
There are thousands of people out there who are writers. How do you stand out? You take on the mindset of a pro, do the work, improve, get it out there and you do it consistently.
It’s not always easy. It takes time to build up discipline. But remember your passion for the work, for the written word. That’s what discipline is about. It’s about valuing what you do and binding yourself to it. You will grow into a pro as you do this. And we need more pros so the industry prospers.
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The dream: NY Times bestselling author with 5 books in print making a good living as a writer.
The reality: Two unpublished books, one you can’t seem to finish and three rejections. It’s as though you gave up before you even began. It’s easy to do when you perceive the distance between where you are and where you want to be as an enormous chasm.
The chasm isn’t as wide as you think and while we’re at it, stop thinking about it as a gap at all. It’s just the space between two things and we can bridge that space as we move towards our dream. The key is to not quit.
We’ve all been told you just need to do xyz to get to where you want to go. But formulas don’t usually work because one-size-fits-all solutions don’t. We can take what others have done and tweak their formula to make it our own. Better yet is to look within for the steps that will shorten the distance between now and the dream life. Here’s how…
Stay out of overwhelm
First, stop seeing your dream as impossibly far away. It’s a given that as you take steps towards it, you will get closer. But as you take those steps you begin to change and gain confidence. Soon those small steps become big steps and once in a while you’ll leap. What seemed to be 10 years away gets cut to five or less.
Begin with baby steps
Don’t think of your dream as an overwhelming goal you may never reach. Dreams can inspire you to move forward. They are not to be lived in, which is daydreaming. They are to be lived from. Use them to inspire actions that you can take from where you are now.
Also note dreams are not goals. Goals help you reach your dream and are set based on where you are. They need to feel doable now. Break down your vision into goals and then break each goal down into doable steps. That’s how you bridge the gap.
It’s a journey not a gap, and it’s necessary
I know I keep saying this in one form or another, but it’s important. The space between where you are now and where you want to be is the journey you NEED to take in order to become the person who is living the dream.
You may have heard about people who win the lottery. They spend it all within a year then end up right back where they started. This is because they didn’t have the space to grow into the person who could handle large sums of money. We need that space to become who we want to be. Don’t lament the time it takes to get where you want to go. Without it you can’t become the person you need to be to live the dream.
Don’t listen to the past
The past will haunt you and tell you: Things will always be this way. You haven’t changed before. What makes you think you will change now?
Don’t listen. Find proof that you have grown and changed. See how you’re not the same person you were 10 years ago. Maybe you haven’t moved as much as you like, but you’re still growing into the life you want.
And if you’re not moving towards your dream, take a breath and forgive yourself. We all get sidetracked sometimes. Remember, those sidetracks still contribute to our growth. When you become aware you’ve started down the wrong path, just come back to your dream and refocus. This is why people hire coaches. It helps them stay on track.
Today’s actions are the stepping stones to your dream. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Those musicians and artists who suddenly show up on the scene as a huge success started out just like you. They had a dream and didn’t know how they would make it real, but they kept moving towards it. Often they spent 10 years or more getting better at their art and finding ways to get their work out there. And we know them and their work now because they never gave up.
Determine what success means to you, do what you love and keep dreaming. When you live in the moment and enjoy every step, you realize the journey itself is your purpose. The dream isn’t the destination. It appears in your heart to help you unfold into an ever greater expression of life itself.
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"Low self-confidence isn't a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered--just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better."
~ Barrie Davenport
We do our best work when we are confident. Procrastination, subpar work and an unwillingness to put our work out there all happen when our confidence is low. But like the quote above says, we can build our confidence.
Some of the ideas below come from The As If Principle by Richard Wiseman. In it he mentions a number of studies about our physical responses and behaviors. He says we interpret our body’s reactions by the context in which we find ourselves. We can also choose to feel a certain way just by the way we position our body.
Below are some techniques you can use to express and feel the confidence you need to get the writing done and out into the world.
Reframe what’s happening in your body
Our bodies have very few responses, so the excitement of love and the fear of sending a query letter to an agent have the same physical response. We are conditioned to choose an emotion that fits the context based on past knowledge. With awareness we can choose any emotion we want once the body begins responding.
So let’s take the example of sending a query letter. You’re at your keyboard and about to hit send on an email to an agent you really like. Your hands are sweaty and your heart is racing. Take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that you’re excited about the opportunity. You know your manuscript is polished and your ideas sound. If you can keep your focus on that for a minute you will begin to feel the excitement. From this place it’s so much easier to hit send.
Take on a confident pose
Our bodies do affect our emotions. One study showed that people felt less pain from an electrical shock if they “acted tough” like nothing was going to hurt them and they put their bodies in a relaxed position.
Let’s say you’re getting ready to make a pitch to an agent at a writer’s conference. Stand tall, chest out, but don’t make your body rigid. Keep it relaxed. In a less formal situation, like a party, you can lean back in a chair with your arms draped over the back or behind your head. Feel the confidence set in.
Do it now. How do you feel? Play with it. Slouch for a bit and then stand tall. See how different you feel from one to the other. Looking confident will also make others take notice of you. And standing tall allows you to breathe better so you can project a stronger voice.
Plan and rehearse
Before you pitch, take some time to plan what you’re going to say and rehearse it. Do it out loud. Get members of your family to listen to you or enlist a few friends. Every time you do it you’ll feel more self-assured.
Planning and rehearsing also work before you write. There is great value you in outlining or at least being clear on what subject or scene you’re going to write next. It even helps to rehearse by visualizing your writing session going well.
Do something that you are a good at and love to do
There are times when we fall into comparison thinking and pull our confidence way down. Or sometimes someone says something that puts us into a spiral of self-doubt. (Don’t read those negative reviews.)
One of the best things to do when this happens is to take action and do something that you’re great at and love to do. There’s nothing like being in your zone of genius to boost your confidence.
Read positive statements about yourself out loud
One study had two groups of volunteers read statements out loud. The first group read statements like, “Saturn has rings.” The second group read positive statements about themselves.
The second group came out of the experiment feeling great!
The statements below are a little different from the example in the book. I’ve geared these towards inspiring confidence. I encourage you to create your own once you’ve got the hang of it and to use them to read out loud when you need a confidence boost.
Statements that can help you increase your confidence
1. I am a great ______________.
2. I can do _______________ well.
3. People love what I do.
4. I have confidence in my ability to ___________.
5. I help people ____________.
6. I am loved and appreciated.
7. I feel enthusiastic about life right now.
8. I get along with most people I meet.
9. I am optimistic about my future.
10. My work is going well.
11. I am successful at _______________.
12. I feel happy and secure in this moment.
13. People love to be around me.
14. I am full of energy and doing what I love.
15. Today is going to be a fun and successful day.
Confidence is everything. One of the best baseball players in the MLB today said that in an interview recently. He said it takes work to keep up your confidence. A pro works at it. This is just as important as practicing the craft. May your path become clearer as you build your confidence.
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Day after day you stare at a blank page or avoid going near your work in progress all together. Scrubbing toilets is beginning to look like a better use of your time. And you just can’t figure out what’s wrong.
Whether it’s been a few days or endless weeks and months since you last worked on your current project, know it’s possible to get back to it. If you’re reading this, you’re interested in figuring it out. And that shows you still have some motivation.
It’s time to get your journal and write. As a writer, I find one of the best ways to figure something out is to write about it.
Do I know what I need to write next? If not, what can I do to figure it out?
The first question has to do with the project itself. Often writer’s block happens because we don’t know what to write next. This is often a planning problem. If you didn’t outline before you started, then you don’t have a roadmap to keep you from getting stymied about 1/3 of the way in.
Go back over what you’ve done and create an outline. It can help you see the gaps. Then you figure out how to fill them. Once you know your next step, sit down and write.
If you have an outline and are still blocked, revisit it. It also helps if you have a writing buddy you can run it by. Often someone else can more easily see what the problem is.
To make sure you don’t have this problem again, you might want to take up outlining as a regular practice. Whether you do this or not, it’s helpful to write down exactly what you’re going to work on before your next writing session.
If all seems well as far as next steps go, it’s time to get personal about your relationship to your WIP.
How do I feel about my current work in progress?
Is my motivation low because I don’t care much for the story or subject?
Scary question if you’ve spent months or even years on your current project. It could be you’ve lost interest if it’s been in your life a long time. This doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy idea or story to pursue. Sometimes we just need a break.
You can also regain motivation by tapping into how you felt about it originally…especially if you were really excited about it. Use your imagination and write about how you felt when the idea first dawned on you. Feel the excitement. What thoughts help you feel that way? Use words that will help you sustain the feeling. Our feelings, our emotions move us into action.
If one of the two questions above doesn’t help you solve the problem, try this third question.
What happened in my life about the time I stopped working on my current project?
Have you gone through a major life change in the past six months, year?
Things going on in our lives can have a greater effect on our work than we realize.
It may seem like enough time has passed for you to feel better. But it depends on how big a change it was and your own emotional health as to how long it will take to heal.
It has taken me over a year after an unexpected move and my mother dying a little over a month afterwards to fully engage in life again.
Be aware of where you’re at emotionally. Sometimes it takes a while to recover from a major life event. And that means we may not be up to working at the same pace we once were or even working at all.
Take some time write about how you’re feeling if this seems to be your issue. Use your journal to process through your feelings. It can help you get back on track.
If you’re still not sure why you’re not getting the writing done, contact me. I’m here to help. One of the ways to work with me is in my free Facebook group The Writers Sangha. Inside you get coaching, accountability and the support you need to get the writing done. Join us today!
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Maybe you don’t feel confident in your ability as a writer. Maybe you think you don’t know enough or have what it takes. How do you confidently move in the direction of your dreams then?
The answer is simple, but it’s not always easy. The secret to building confidence is to take action. Maybe you don’t feel confident at first, but I promise once you’ve done it, you will begin to feel confident. A lack of confidence often stems from not knowing. Seek to know by taking action.
Dreaming is great. We must dream before we do, but to remain in the dream phase means that we’ll never make our dreams come true. We have an idea, but to bring it into the world, we must begin to take action. This action will help us build confidence and that confidence will fuel further action.
If the key is confidence, and action is what brings confidence, what fuels action? Feelings. We often say we don’t feel motivated. Feelings move us to act.
But we need to go another step back. Feelings are fueled by our thoughts and beliefs. If you don’t think you’re good enough, you’ll feel defeated and won’t take the action you need to take to build your confidence.
The exercise below will help you advance in the direction of your dream of being a writer and author.
Choose an action
What is one small action you can take today that will get you one step closer to your dream? Make this something simple and measurable to be completed within a certain time frame. For example, you could research what you need for an article idea or make an outline for the book you’d like to write. Now create a deadline in which to complete this action.
Create motivation for your action
What feelings will motivate you to take the action you came up with above? What kinds of thoughts make you feel that way? Think your thoughts. Do you believe them? You have to believe them to provoke the feeling you want. Now feel the feelings. Do you feel like taking the action you chose?
Take the action
Just do it as a certain active wear empire says. Even if you can’t find the motivation, take the action. If it’s small and doable, you should be able to get it done no matter what resistance you feel.
Check in with yourself
How did you feel while taking the action? Was there any resistance? How do you feel after taking the action? Were you able to take the action or did you let it slide?
If you feel resistance, it could be the action you chose is too big. Break it down into smaller steps and set up deadlines for each step.
And if you’re still having trouble, ask for help. I help writers write. I help you get it done. I even help you get started if that’s what you need. You’ve dreamed of this. Don’t let anything stop you from living the life you imagined.
Take action in the direction of your dreams. Click the link to The Writers Sangha. Join the group. Ask questions. Get the writing done. The Writers Sangha is a Facebook group where you’ll get the guidance and accountability you need to live your dream.
Vulnerability has become a buzzword. It’s been made popular by people like Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton. Some have called this interest in vulnerability the Vulnerability Revolution.
So what does this have to do with being a pro writer? Everything.
Vulnerability is the writer’s super power in two ways and always has been. Paul Gallico, author of Confessions of a Story Writer published in 1948, expressed it well in these lines:
“It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader. If you do not believe in the characters or the story you are doing at that moment with all your mind, strength, and will, if you don’t feel joy and excitement while writing it, then you’re wasting good white paper, even if it sells, because there are other ways in which a writer can bring in the rent money besides writing bad or phony stories.”
To be a pro is to open up to all your feelings and be willing to put them on the page. The pro can’t afford to hide or shrink their essence. Look at the writers I mentioned above. Brené, Elizabeth, Glennon all offered up their personal stories in order to connect with us and show a way through. The connection they forged created their career.
Being vulnerable allows writers to create powerful work. It also allows writers to share it.
To share your stories and wisdom is to stand naked before your readers. You just poured yourself onto the page, warts and all. Not everyone will appreciate what you created. And it won’t be perfect. But there will be some whose lives you change. That can’t happen if you hide.
Pros may be afraid to release their writing to the world, but they move through the fear and do it anyway. To share yourself is an act of vulnerability. It just is. To become a pro means you accept this. Eventually you will look forward to it even as your heart beats too fast and your palms sweat. Pros choose to call it excitement, not fear.
So, take a deep breath and dive in. The world needs your stories. It needs more people to open up and connect. Make vulnerability your super power and fly.
If you’d like a safe place to practice being vulnerable, join me in The Writers Sangha, a free Facebook group. In it you can gain the coaching and accountability you need to get the writing done.
It’s not really much of a secret. You’ve probably heard it before. Today I ran into someone who didn’t know why her memoir read like a timeline without emotion. I told her it was because she wasn’t feeling the emotion as she wrote.
And that’s the secret. As writers we need to feel the emotion as we’re writing or the reader won’t feel it.
This is true across many art forms. We see it most clearly with acting. An actor that hasn’t entered the emotion they are trying to convey puts on a weak performance. A piece of art that is created from a strictly intellectual space may be interesting, but won’t make us feel. And it is feeling that attracts us and makes us want to continue experiencing the piece.
Emotions are powerful energy that move us and bring color to our lives. This pulse of energy within drives the work we do in the world. It enlivens us and therefore the work so the work can in turn enliven others.
Embrace what you feel. Conjure the emotion you need for a character in your novel or relive the time your heart was broken for a personal essay. Draw on the powerful energy of emotion to move your work and hence the reader. Art is about connection. We only connect when we are authentically ourselves. Good writers use both their writing ability and their emotions to craft a moving experience for the reader. Art lives in the space where the two meet.
Are you stuck? Do you need help discovering the next step needed to complete your writing project? Have a little procrastination problem? Join The Writers Sangha a free Facebook group where you can get the accountability and coaching you need to get the writing done.
I think of Nature as my guru. I even have a blog by that name. When I was young I would spend hours by myself in the woods. When driving in the van with my parents, I would watch the moon as it followed us. The Earth and sky felt like home.
Today I still feel this connection though I don’t spend as much time outdoors. Nature’s energy flows through me and guides me. I honor the ebb in flow in it and in myself.
Wax and Wane, Ebb and Flow
You probably notice times when your energy waxes and wanes like the moon and the seasons. There are times you may not feel like writing. It could be for any number of reasons, not enough sleep, overwhelmed by life, etc. No matter what’s going on in our lives, we can tap into the energy of nature to help us get the writing done.
Please note we also need to honor our energy and rest as needed. The point is to discern whether you truly need to rest or are avoiding the work.
Take Advantage of the Rise in Energy to Write
This month’s full moon peaks today at 2:35 p.m. PDT. Today and on into tomorrow is a good time to schedule some writing time. Take advantage of the increased energy to use your mind in a focused way. Some say this energy can wreak havoc on the unfocused mind. As writers we often have something to focus on, and with the extra energy we can move our projects forward with greater ease.
Full Moon Guidance
We can also use full moon energy to guide us. I sometimes sit at my altar on a full moon and ask a question. I find this powerful energy helps what is in my subconscious to rise to consciousness. I give my mind a focus, the question I’m asking, and wait for the answer to rise like the moon.
What to write about, how to fix a plot, where to publish are all good questions to ask. See what comes up. If you don’t get an answer, wait a few days. It can sometimes take a while. And if your answer doesn’t come, there are people who can help you. All you need to do is ask.
Letting Go During the Full Moon
When the moon is full, it is at peak energy and is about to slide into waning energy. This makes the full moon a good time to let go of anything that no longer serves us.
What never serves a writer are the excuses/reasons we come up with to not do the writing. In a previous post entitled “The Only Obstacle is Our Mindset” I discuss how we are the reason we’re not writing. There is nothing outside us stopping us from getting the writing done. Take a moment to read it and then do the ritual below to help you let go of your excuses.
Excuses Be Gone Full Moon Ritual
Before you begin, have your current work in progress nearby and ready to work on. You’re going to begin writing immediately after this short ritual.
You will also need:
In the days following the ritual, you may still find excuses popping up. That’s normal. You’ve stirred your subconscious to bring your behavior into your awareness. Remember, we don’t change our habits overnight. The ritual is performed with strong conviction to plant the seeds of change. You can always perform it again. You may want to if you’ve come up with some new excuses. Just know that by doing the ritual you’ve set in motion your awareness of what you do when you avoid writing. This awareness will help you transform.
Celebration & Inspiration
We can use the energy of the full moon to help us get the writing done and let go of what no longer serves us. But the full moon is also a time to celebrate the fullness of life and the fruition of any intentions set at the new moon.
Late last night I noticed the glow of the moon in the backyard. I opened the blinds to let the moonlight in. I let this white light into me so I could connect with Her beauty. The moon can and has been muse to many. Allow the beauty of this celestial being to inspire you to write and enjoy success on your terms doing what you love. It’s time to bring your unique voice into the world.
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It’s no easy feat to start a coaching business while simultaneously writing to publish. Just one alone would keep you plenty busy. But I have this need to write and help others. So here I am, and most days I feel as though I haven’t done enough.
I could stop doing both and concentrate on one. But every time I do that, I find myself missing the other. I don’t feel complete doing only one.
The problem isn’t really about having too much to do; it’s that I never feel as though I’m doing enough.
Just becoming aware of the issue can help us solve it. The solution is right in front of us now. Sometimes we don’t see it because we’re too close. Talking or journaling about it brings enough distance so we can see clearly.
Solving the Problem
I know my issue is that I never feel as though I’m doing enough. This has come up in other areas so I can see it’s a pattern. Since I feel as though I’m not doing enough, I must have thoughts that cause me to feel this way. Let’s look at them.
One of those thoughts is: I’m not getting ahead so I must not be doing enough. I need to ask if that’s true. I find it’s not. It’s important to ask why the thought isn’t true. Mine isn’t because the reason I’m not getting ahead isn’t that I’m not doing enough. It’s that I’m not doing the right things.
Another thought is: I could never do enough because there is too much to do. When I look closely at the thought, I see it’s flawed. It’s only true if I think I have to finish things in one session. I can do something about the situation by choosing to think differently about it.
So now I know what thoughts are causing me to feel as though I’m not doing enough. I also discovered what was wrong with those thoughts. It’s time to replace them. But first a quick breakdown of this thought/feeling check process.
We replace the thoughts that are causing us to feel in ways we don’t want to feel with thoughts that help us feel better. First, I have to decide how I want to feel. When it comes to my work, I want to feel accomplished, as though I did something meaningful and it will move me forward. What thoughts will help me feel this way?
Before I come up with new thoughts, I need to figure out which tasks move me forward. Remember, I discovered I’m not always doing the most pertinent things. Once I know what will move me forward, I need to break those tasks into small chunks.
The new thoughts: Two or three vital tasks per day are enough. The work I did was important and more will be done tomorrow. Enough is enough because I say it is.
I know I will believe this more and more as I see the results that stem from the new feelings I triggered with my new thoughts.
Other Causes of the Not-Doing-Enough Feeling
Some other thoughts and beliefs that bring on feelings of not doing enough are:
The time thing is related to what I talked about above. We need to look at what we’re trying to accomplish. Energy is also related to this. The last one has us tied to an external. When we base what we do on outside standards, we begin to lose what works for us.
Sometimes the not-doing-enough feeling is tied to our self-worth. We don’t feel as though we are good enough and so everything we do will never be enough in all kinds of ways. It’s important to be kind to ourselves and begin to understand we are here and that means we are enough and all we do is enough. It can take time to heal this. Just know it can be healed. It begins within and with letting the work of the day be enough.
Focus your effort, decide what’s enough to move you forward and know what works for you doesn’t have to fit some outside standard. Experiment and see how many hours are needed to accomplish what you want to accomplish. If you can work three hours a day and make progress, great! Don’t let others tell you what you should do. Only you know what you need to do and if you’re doing it. That’s the key. Know what needs to be done in your particular situation and make sure you work on it a little every day. And remember, enough truly is enough.
If you’d like to experience this kind of coaching to help you get the writing done, I invite you to join The Writers Sangha, a free Facebook support group for writers like you who want success on your terms doing what you love.