Today at 7:00 PM CDT, I’ll be speaking at Nonfiction Writers’ University. I’ll be talking about Three Shifts You Must Make To Succeed As An Author. The class is free, but you must sign up here.
We’re still in the middle of the July Write-A-Thon. We didn’t get enough people to do the weekly calls, but I am posting daily at the Write Now! Coach Facebook page! Check in and update us on your progress.
Today’s tip talks about how to write forward in the midst of crazy days and unrealistic expectations!
Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Overcome Unrealistic Expectations and Write by Rochelle Melander
Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. —A.A. Milne
Years ago, I read Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D. In the book, he identified ten common cognitive distortions—unhelpful thinking patterns that leave us feeling miserable.
While I don’t subscribe to the idea of the crazy writer, I do believe that many of us are done in by cognitive distortions. We apply unhelpful thinking to our writing goals, holding ourselves to unrealistic expectations. We think or say things like:
+If I don’t have the whole day to write, I might as well do nothing. (All or nothing thinking)
+I only wrote for ten minutes today, I’m such a loser. (Discounting the positives, Labeling)
+This sounds like crap. No wonder the agent rejected me. I’m a bad writer. (Jumping to conclusions, labeling, emotional reasoning)
Many of us are in the middle of a write-a-thon. We set a big hairy audacious goal. I know I did. And from the notes on the Write Now! Coach Facebook page, I know some of you are doing well. (Yeah you!) But for those of you who’re having a rough time, let me tell you how it’s going for me: it’s not. My life got the kind of busy that leaves one dizzy. I wouldn’t be able to write a chapter a day. My temptation: give in to all or nothing thinking and give up.
Not this time. Instead, I reset my goals.
Every day, I write for 15-20 minutes on my work in progress. I hold onto what Stephen King said: When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “one word at a time.”
Writers, don’t let crazy thinking stop you from writing. Instead:
+Identify the distortion. (See chart.)
+Ask: Is this true? Challenge your thinking with evidence from your life.
+Ask: If this isn’t true, what is true? (I don’t have the whole day, but writing for fifteen minutes will move me forward. I’m accomplishing enough for now.)
+Create a new plan.
Writers, remember: every book is written one word at a time. And if you’re at least on the river, or better yet the stream, your little bits will add up and you will get there…one word at a time.
Your turn: How have you beat crazy thinking, redefined your goals, and written forward?