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.
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