The 3 Most Common Times You Will Want To Give Up

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If you’ve spent too many hours allowing the blank page to conquer you, if you continuously doubt every word that you write down, if you’re tempted to hit delete every time you write a new blog post – you’re not alone and help is at hand.

If you’ve ever wondered if the things you that you struggle with are normal or if it feels like you’re the only one stuck in fear, you can stop stressing. Here are the 3 most common times that you will want to give up (and you’re not alone because EVERYONE goes through this at some point whether they are just starting out or have a few best sellers to their name). The trick is to write on regardless and that’s where we come in.

1. The Beginning – You want to start but you don’t know how. Fear has gripped you in the form of procrastination, excuses, lack of time, energy, motivation or inspiration. You’re afraid that you don’t have what it takes to write. You’re afraid that you don’t have anything original to say or that you lack the right grammar, spelling or gumption to write anything at all. You worry that your words won’t be of interest to anyone and that you’re wasting your time. Maybe you find the courage to start but because that first sentence or paragraph isn’t perfect, you keep starting over and over and over again and never really get anywhere. This can be torture as you really want to begin but don’t know how to get past this first big creative block. Your inner critic is on full blast in your mind and your writing dream feels like it’s never going to happen.

2. The Middle – Yay! You’ve managed to write something but you’re still not satisfied. You either doubted yourself the whole time or the process was going well until suddenly everything seemed to fall apart. What the hell went wrong? Maybe you got distracted and lost your writing routine. Maybe you felt that you needed some feedback from a friend or family member and they didn’t give you what you were looking for ( or worse still, they criticized you – eeeek!) Whatever the case may be, you’ve lost your enthusiasm and so you take a ‘break’ from writing. The break goes from days, to weeks, to months even years. You have various note books or unfinished stories lying around waiting for you to have your break through moment but it just never seems to happen. You really thought you could do better than this.

3. The End – Wooohooo!  You finished your rough draft at last! Then you start to read through what you have written and you hate every.single.word.  You want to take the next step and start editing so that you can enter a writing competition or publish it but due to the fact that you don’t like what you’ve written, you stay stuck and frustrated.

Fear and doubt are the main causes of writer’s block or getting stuck creatively. The bad news is that fear or your inner critic will try and stop you at every stage of your writing process. The good news is that this is normal and this happens to everyone – it’s not just you! There’s nothing wrong with you and there are various things you can do to deal with your fears and doubts in an empowering, supportive and creative way. You’re not lazy, untalented or stupid. All you need is someone to help you create a writing routine that works for you and guides you on your creative journey back to self.

If you want to write this Winter but don’t know how to start, continue or finish then join us for our introductory course, Writing Scared which starts next week, Wednesday June 3rd in Kenilworth, Cape Town. There are only THREE places left so if you want to claim your spot, get in touch with us before Tuesday 2nd June for booking details. We’ll even have a roaring fire going to keep you warm as you begin to Write On!

” I am a writer. Four words I never thought I would say. Doing Writing Scared helped me realise that I am not only able to say those words but to believe them and more importantly write them! Doing this course was like kicking a massive rock over and finding something that has always been there, just there, hiding in the comfortable dooming weight of the rock. I found something there. I found my voice. I found my story. Thank you Write On! ” – Nadezna Pieters, Johannesburg 

Bookings can be made via our contact form on this website.

Earlier this week, Write On! founder Amy Kaye was interviewed by Pippa Hudson of 567 CapeTalk radio to talk about the importance of keeping a diary or journal. If you missed the interview, you can listen to the podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/primediabroadcasting/people-who-keep-diaries-are-generally-much-happier If you want to skip the intro, start the podcast from 2:38 in.

*This post was originally written as part of the 37th edition of the Write On! newsletter. Signing up is free and subscribers get exclusive discounts & event invites. To sign up, send us your details via our contact form.*

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4 Ways To Stop Procrastinating & Create The Writing Life You Want!

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

The desire to write has been haunting you for a while now. You muster up all your courage and even go so far as to buy yourself a beautiful blank book to write in. You clear some time so as not to be distracted and you sit down to write. But as you sit there, thinking about what to do next, you have a sudden urge to do anything butwrite. Congratulations – you’re in good company. Writers out of all people find it more hard to write than anyone else – we just come up with way too many creative excuses that seem completely legitimate at the time. You can’t write because you don’t have the time, there are other ‘more important’ things to do, who’s going to read this stuff anyway? All those excuses are the reason why years will go by and that book/blog/play/memoir will stay unwritten. However, all is not lost. Here are some simple ways to stop procrastinating and start writing.

1. Start very small. The way you learn how to write or to become a better writer is by taking action and writing. You cannot become a writer by talking about or thinking about what you want to write about – you have to sit down and do the work. So many people spend their lives talking about what they’re going to write. So less talk, more writing. Don’t worry about the word count. Instead focus on carving out some time each day to write. Start with something that’s not too challenging. Start by writing just one paragraph or 5 sentences per day. Do that for one week every day and then multiply. Soon that one daily paragraph will be a page a day.

2. Don’t focus on the outcome. Too many people never start to write because they are too worried about how to get an agent or how to get published. That is not of your concern right now. It’s not important as to what you’re writing and most days, you will be writing absolute rubbish. Don’t let this be another excuse. It’s not about getting it perfect the first time. That’s why it’s called a first draft – editing will come much later.

3. Create a new habit by creating a writing ritual. When do you have most of your energy? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Create a writing routine around this. Decide what time you are going to write each day and then stick to it. It can be as little as 5 minutes a day. If you leave your writing up to how you are feeling each day, you will not write. Create a routine and stick to it. Your feelings are just another distraction – write through it regardless.

4. Be present. Make sure that you find yourself a quiet place to write without distractions. Write by hand. It is a much more cathartic practice and has numerous health benefits. Turn off your phone. Turn off your computer. Get rid of all distractions and give that blank page all your attention.

Need some accountability or support on your writing journey? Writing Scared, our most popular writing course will be beginning again as we head into winter. For the first time, due to public demand, we will also be doing this course online so if you can’t make it to Cape Town – not to worry, you can still sign up!

Writing Scared starts in two weeks time on Wednesday 3rd June and will run for 6 weeks. (6 Consecutive Wednesday evenings) Places are limited to create an intimate space for all participants to get individual attention and support. Bookings are made on a first come, first served basis.

“I participated in the Beginners and Advanced courses at Write On! and also took a couple of drop in classes. I loved the experience and even though it was daunting at the beginning, Amy was great at facilitating a supportive environment. It’s been over a year since I graduated but I still find that I use a lot of the writing skills I learnt in Write On! both professionally and in my personal capacity. I also met so many inspiring people through Write On! that made the experience that much more fun.” – Toughedah Jacobs 

Change can be an incredibly difficult and challenging thing to do. By signing up to Writing Scared, you will be going against everything your inner critic has been telling you for years. Don’t let your negativity or excuses win. You have everything it takes to write your story because you’re the only one who can. Be brave and start taking the steps to create the writing life you’ve always wanted.

If you want to read an incredibly beautiful piece about the power of books and how they brought together a mother and son even after death, read Nick Bilton’s article in The New York Times below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/style/in-a-mothers-library-bound-in-spirit-and-in-print.html?_r=1

*This post was originally written as part of the 36th edition of the Write On! newsletter. Signing up is free and subscribers get exclusive discounts & event invites. To sign up, send us your details via our contact form.*