Do you struggle with finishing? Believe me, I’ve been there.
Perseverance has never really been my thing.
I was the one in school that could easily write papers, finish assignments, and obtain excellent grades with very little effort.
But as soon as something difficult came along, I would give up. Any iota of resistance would stop me in my tracks.
In 2008, I decided to write a book.
I was fairly young and had absolutely no clue what I was doing, but I managed to eke out a completed manuscript. It took me about a year to figure out what I wanted to write about and get past the first page, then another year to complete the first draft. It was hard, but fun-hard, and I loved it.
Then the editing began.
And it was just plain hard-hard. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to crawl in a hole, pay someone vast sums of money to edit it for me, then have a bunch of people pay me thousands of dollars to read my perfect words.
Sounds like a dream, right?
But here’s the thing: it’s not that easy.
Though I labored over the manuscript for eight years (eight years!) through multiple revisions and changes and got absolutely frustrated with how long it seemed to be taking, the time spent was absolutely necessary to the process. I was honing my manuscript, discovering what it was meant to be, similar to Michelangelo sculpting David:
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo
My book was inside me; I just needed to write it. Even though it wasn’t what I first wrote (or even what I wrote second or third), eventually the story was exactly what it was supposed to be.
I had people telling me I wouldn’t ever finish it, had my own voice inside my head telling me it wasn’t worth the hard work, had family who wouldn’t read a single word.
Yet I managed to keep going—the person who would never stick with anything—and somehow ended up with a completed manuscript.
But it wasn’t by accident, and it doesn’t have to be for you, either.
So how did I get past all the excuses I made up in my head and the doubts others threw my way to stick with it until it was done?
I stopped letting the negativity and the doubts take hold in my mind, taught myself to follow these five excuse-eliminating tenets, and finally stepped into the writer I was meant to be.
- Believe in Yourself and the Work Only You Can Do
Even though it sounds cheesy, a strong belief that I was given this story and needed to get it out into the world helped me through many hard days. If you have a passion for writing, don’t let other people or excuses you make up rob you and the world of your voice. Somewhere, someone needs to hear what you have to say in the way only you can say it.
Be brave, and believe in yourself and your work.
- Let Go of What Others Think About You
I know this is a hard one, but too often we give in to the opinions that others speak into our lives. When we do this, when we let this poison enter our minds, we eventually find ourselves living lives we don’t recognize. Show love to others, but don’t let their opinions of who you should be dig roots in your mind.
Only you truly know who you should be. So live YOUR best life.
- Give Up Your Feelings of Inadequacy
You are enough. Just you. Hone your craft, develop it like any other muscle, but you are a writer the moment you write a single word. Don’t let anyone—most importantly, yourself—convince you otherwise.
- Write Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
There will be minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months you won’t feel like writing. Do it anyway. You won’t get any better by not writing. The book won’t get done any quicker, either. I wish I would’ve taken this to heart sooner!
- Learn as Much as You Can
Writing may feel like a lonely profession, but there are scores of writers on social media and in your community who you can connect with to develop a network of like-minded people. Learn as much as you can from each other. Learn the craft, the community, the best practices, take the courses and then… learn how to break the rules. That’s my favorite part.
Have you let the excuses you make up in your head hold you back from completing that blog post, that manuscript, that series? Have you listened to the voices of others telling you you’ll never finish?
Resolve today to give up that mindset, ignore those lies, and step into the truth that you are a writer, you are enough, and you have a story that the world needs to hear.
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