5 Simple Ways to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

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5 Simple Ways to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy by Paula Zwenger

Ever felt paralyzed by the next step – judging it too far out on a limb? Or sat immobile, convinced no one else has ever faced what you’re facing? A part of you knows these thoughts are irrational. Still negativity holds sway.

Welcome to the world of neophyte writers. Desire burns to spill to paper a story trapped inside. Yet fire extinguishers proliferate like dandelions in springtime, converting your writing sparks to ashes. What to do? Here are tips I try when feeling stifled. Maybe one will work for you.

Write like no one will ever read it. This one I learned during Tosca Lee’s keynote address at the April WordSowers conference. It sounded counter-intuitive. Don’t we write so that someone will read our words? In trying it, I found a release to focus on truth, which lends authenticity to my writing.

Don’t edit as you write. Do set time aside once per week to edit. I’ve only recently begun this practice. Poems and blogs by nature are shorter pieces. They still need editing, but the time commitment is less than a chapter or story requires. This practice may save time and editing costs in the long run. Professional, final editing for longer works is still required.

Set weekly, monthly and annual goals. I first started setting weekly and monthly goals about a year ago. I created an editorial calendar for blogging on the advice of Lee Warren after the 2016 conference. I tried daily goals, but found it discouraging. They took longer to create and were often missed. I’m still warming up to the annual goal idea.

Try one new and different thing within the next three months. When I started writing I’d try new poetic forms as soon as I learned of them (i.e. sonnet, haiku, charita, ballad, villanelle, prose poetry, etc.). Now I focus on one at a time. A different, though related idea on my list is to attend and take part in a poetry reading. You might try writing a poem or reading something out of your favored genre to mix things up.

Celebrate small successes. This is easily neglected if you’re an all-or-nothing personality. If getting the book published is the goal and nothing less counts as success, the wait is long. There are many steps in that process. I recently learned how to schedule blog posts and a subscriber newsletter. My site is new and the subscriber list small, but it will grow and this was a necessary and good accomplishment.

Discouragement can often be a side effect of fear,

but if you take one simple step your path ahead will clear.

Continue with your mission and do not give way to foils.

Remember in the Kingdom to the victor go the spoils (1Chron. 26:27)!


What works for you when you are stuck? Share with your fellow WordSowers in the comments below.



Paula Zwenger is a wife, mother, and grandmother who, upon finding herself an empty nester, tried on the hat of rhyme loving writer. It fitted very well. Her joy manifests completely while taking the ups and downs of life and wrangling them into poetry. She has a passion for creating rhymed treasure hunts with a Catholic flare to celebrate the faith and learn a thing or two along the way. You can find her musings at RhymeLovingWriter  and connect with her on Facebook.

Angela D. Meyer

Angela D. Meyer

Angela D. Meyer lives in NE with her husband and two children whom they homeschool - recently graduating their son. She has taught Bible class for over 35 years and is on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea.
Angela D. Meyer

9 thoughts on “5 Simple Ways to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

    1. You’re welcome Janet! Apparently my computer skills need serious updating because I just now found these comments at the bottom of the post!

      Thank you for reading and sharing your wisdom with me too. I look forward to future visits with you.

  1. I like your poem:

    “Discouragement can often be a side effect of fear,

    but if you take one simple step your path ahead will clear.

    Continue with your mission and do not give way to foils.

    Remember in the Kingdom to the victor go the spoils (1Chron. 26:27)!”

    1. Thank you Judith. It’s been very true for my writing journey so far. If I remember the reason I’m writing, the One who gave me the ability in the first place, then things always go better. Meeting the folks in the WordSowers group has been a real blessing too.

    1. Thank you Michelle. Do you schedule your writing goals too? I must admit, the schedule I initially created has changed quite a bit these past six months due to unexpected life events. But having a schedule in the first place has helped me to at least aim in the right direction.

      I was just exchanging messages with some writing friends the other day and have decided that my ‘annual goal’ for 2018 is to finish the original idea that started me on the writing path, a book of rhymed, faith-based treasure hunts. I’m still working on the monthly breakdown right now of what that will look like. Feel free to hold me accountable – OK?

      1. Paula, it was at a Wordsowers meeting that I first made a list of quarterly goals for the year, and then reviewed them at the end of the year. It was gratifying to see the progress.
        This year I will try to set weekly and monthly goals as you suggested. I have some larger projects that intimidate me… speaking of fear holding ya back! I’ll need a timeline to make them a reality.
        Best of luck in your writing for 2018! I enjoy your blog posts and rhymes. 🙂

        1. Thank you Janet! Congratulations on your successes! In this case, seeing (that what you’ve accomplished) is believing, isn’t it? I think your timeline idea is a great one, in whatever increments it works to break it up. We can encourage each other in the coming year and beyond, OK? So glad to hear you are enjoying the blog and rhymes which find their way into everything – thank you for that too.

      2. IIt is a work in progress. My writing goals changed a bit. I thought that I needed a regular job, so I scheduled time for putting in applications. But I was receiving rejection letters before the position even closed. Now I am focusing on editing a book and I need to set a goal for the completion. I started scheduling time to seek out Christian magazines and submitting proposals. So the goal changes after submitting to God and following His instructions.

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