The best way to treat obstacles is to use them as stepping-stones. Laugh at them, tread on them, and let them lead you to something better.
~ Enid Blyton
I don’t have time to write.
I don’t know enough to write about blank.
I’m too tired.
I’m too busy.
These are just some of the excuses us writers come up with to avoid doing the work. These are not the real obstacle. The only obstacle is our thinking.
If there is something we really want to do we can make time for it. If we don’t know enough, we can learn more. If we’re too tired, we can nap first or go to bed earlier. If we’re too busy, we can cut back on something to make room for what we really want to do.
Change our thinking about it and suddenly the way is made clear. The above are not obstacles. They are excuses masquerading as obstacles. So, why do we do this?
If we really believe an excuse, it can get in the way of our progress, but it’s the belief and not the constructed obstacle that is the problem. We need to check our beliefs. And it’s important to adopt a growth mindset. When we begin to understand that we can grow and change, we can take those beliefs and toss them out or change them.
There are many reasons we construct obstacles. I believe the main one is that we’re afraid we’re not good enough. If we can transform this belief into knowing we are good enough, those excuses fall away.
So how do we do this? Let’s take our cue from Enid Blyton who was a British children’s writer from the 1920s to the 1950s.
She encourages us to use our obstacles as stepping stones. We can learn from our excuses and the beliefs behind them. It’s important to take a close look in order to move past them.
Enid also reminds us to laugh at them. To take ourselves lightly allows us to take a deeper look. There is nothing to be ashamed of. This excuse making, obstacle creating thing we do is just something humans do when we’re afraid. It’s really kind of silly of us, but then as writers we revel in the strange way humans behave. It’s all grist for the mill.
It’s important to walk through the process of seeing and understanding, to tread on our obstacles, in order to move on through to the other side where we are free to do our work.
It seems simple enough until we begin taking a closer look. But remember, with a growth mindset you can learn to circumvent this tendency. I’m not sure we ever completely grow beyond it, but we can learn to trust ourselves more and more so we are less afraid to put our words and ourselves into the world.
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