Why You Don’t Write and What You Can Do About It

To begin, tell me a little bit about yourself. How many of these have you experienced in your writing life during the past two years? I’ll include checkboxes so you can keep track.

Never finding the time to write
Making the time but not writing
Dreaming of writing but never getting started
Starting but never finishing
Starting but never finishing that one particular piece
Thinking you can do it without help
Thinking you’re beyond help
A love/hate relationship with your writing
Focusing on unhelpful criticism and ignoring positive feedback
Focusing on positive feedback and ignoring constructive criticism
Wanting to write deep but writing shallow
Writing for others instead of yourself
Writing for money but not treating it like a business
Reading about writing instead of writing
Seeking out feedback before you’re ready
Seeking out the wrong level of feedback
Ongoing health challenges like
    Unexplained fatigue (physical or mental)
    Mysterious illness (a neverending or recurring cold or flu)
    Injuries (constant little accidents)
    Addiction of any kind (substance, activities, self-destructive habits)

How many did you check? Type the number right here:

Is it more than zero?

If so, you’re facing Resistance.

I’ve written nearly 20 books and 200 songs in the past 11 years. I checked 17 boxes. SEVENTEEN.

I’m facing Resistance.

You’re facing Resistance.

Resistance? What’s That?

According to author Steven Pressfield in his seminal work The War of Art Resistance is the mental and emotional pushback we feel when we dare greatly by creating something. It is our unconscious mind protecting us from the “danger” of emotional vulnerability. It manifests in all the ways in that checklist above, and more.

Resistance is a bully. It will stand in your way and stop your progress. It will knock you down and hurt you, emotionally, even physically.

Resistance strikes nonfiction and fiction authors alike. (Memoirists, are you hearing me?) Writing a business book is still a creative endeavor and will expose you to the associated fears.

It will stop you from writing using the tools you checked off in that list above.

It’s Not Just You & I

“I was ashamed. I have spent a good many years since—too many, I think—being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who as ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent.”

“. . . in my heart I stayed ashamed. I kept hearing Miss Hisler asking why I wanted to waste my talent, why I wanted to waste my time, why I wanted to write junk.”

Who was this loser?

Stephen King. Stephen 350 million books sold King.

This is a quote from his On Writing which, although not precisely instructional, is the most inspiring book I’ve read when it comes to staying the course as a writer.

This is the quote that gave me my writing life back. I’ll tell you that story someday.

Our innate desire to have our work respected can lead to problems if we put what others believe about our “God-given talent” ahead of what we want to write. It’s one of many ways Resistance twists natural feelings into quicksand.

What’s a Writer to Do?

You cannot defeat, once for all time, Resistance. It’s part of our mental and emotional makeup. We can, though, make it irrelevant. Note that I can’t say “ignore it” because you can’t ignore a bully. But if you defuse them, do things to take away their power, they are no longer a threat. Like the bully at school (or, frankly, in the office) they still show up every day. But we don’t have to keep giving them our lunch money.

Being a writer is hard. You don’t have to do this alone.

Too many writers are facing the emotional struggle to write without the support they need. After years of writing about it, I’ve created a forum to help writers and artists deal with writer’s Resistance.

It’s not going to be a collective moan-fest or even chat-fest. Instead, it’s a guided learning environment, a community of writers making a safe place for some “you’re not alone” emotional support. It will also cover practical and actionable tools and processes to get you writing and keep you writing.

Membership is $5 per month or only $25 for the whole year. Questions? Comments? Shout ’em out below and I’ll answer every one.

Think Like a Writer (You Want This Book)

Think-Like-a-WriterMy friend, sometime lyricist, and most excellent editor Tom Bentley has finally released a book on writing.

Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See is both practical and entertaining. Much like its author, come to think of it.

I’ll let Tom tell you about it:
… more … “Think Like a Writer (You Want This Book)”

Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0

selfprintedsplashbadgeCatherine Ryan Howard taught me how to do a Goodreads giveaway, among other things. Wanna know what she can teach you? Here’s a single Q&A with Catherine, and down below, the scoop on the latest edition of her book Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing.

I asked: Is there any specific data on the ROI for freebies? I’m curious about data like “100 copies given away results in 13 reviews and 3 copies sold” or some such nonsense. Separated by fiction and nonfiction. Also, what’s your opinion on whether such data would have any practical value?

… more … “Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0”

Wanna Sell Books? Learn Marketing from the Master, Seth Godin

Most of you don’t know how marketing should be done.

It’s not your fault. You’ve seen it done wrong your whole life (especially if you’re my age and grew up in front of a television.)

We confused the possible correlation between Coke ads on TV and the Coke in our fridge with a causation: ad => purchase.

If you intend to sell books, you’re going to do marketing.

In order to succeed, you have to do marketing right.

Nobody knows marketing like Seth does. Nobody.

He’s doing his second online Skillshare marketing class soon. Read about it at his website or at Skillshare.

For $16 you can get a million dollars’ worth of knowledge. Learn at your own pace. Soak in it.

An Online Skillshare Class by Seth Godin

“Found Around the Web” Fiction Writing

Angela AckermanToday’s resource is from The Creative Penn Blog by Joanna Penn. She recently posted an article by Angela Ackerman.

Angela discusses creating character personality traits to make your story richer. Her resource books help writers create layered, compelling characters that readers relate to and care for. Read more at The Creative Penn Blog.

Year-Long Workshop: Get Your Book Out of the Someday Box in 2014

was this place new when you started your novel?What if I could lead you by the hand and promise that in 2014 you’d finally finish that novel?

What’s more, what if I gave you greatly increased chances that it would be good?

Is that worth paying for?

Details to come.

Marketing Your Books in the New Age of Publishing

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1126065 by BarbaraDin http://www.sxc.hu/profile/BarbaraDinA longer diatribe about marketing your self-published book. This is a year-long class, which I’d be glad to give if y’all are interested.

Publishing is in the greatest upheaval since Gutenberg. Supporters of traditional publishing will tell you it’s the only choice, or you’re not a real author.

I’ll take the opposing view: the only rational choice, from both the artistic and commercial perspectives, is to pick yourself, own the process, and reap the rewards. Here’s why:
… more … “Marketing Your Books in the New Age of Publishing”

The Write Word Easy Editing & Spiffy Style Guide

Writers should not edit their own work. I do anyway. You probably do, too. Raconteur and nutter Tom Bentley wants to make it easier, so he’s released his Easy Editing & Spiffy Style Guide. It costs a paltry $9.97 (of which I’ll get none because that’s not an affiliate link.)

From Tom’s site:

The 55-Page Ebook Contains:

  • Best Practices in Editing—Learn how editing is critical to effective communication
  • Editing Tools—How to use all editing tools to maximum effect
  • Types of and Approaches to Editing—Harness the power of every editing stage
  • Proofreading Methods and Examples—Don’t let typos tangle your efforts
  • Editing Checklists—Perfect your documents, step-by-step
  • Editing Resources—In-context URLs providing expanded editing knowledge
  • Style Guide Covering Numbers, Possessives, Semicolons and More!
  • A Pocketful of General Usage Tips

If you care about writing, and would like an editing and style guide that will make you laugh ’til milk comes out your nose, this is the one. If you don’t love love love it, and value it highly, I personally guarantee Tom will give your money back.