In my last article, Still Putting Off Your Writing Dreams? How to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Start Writing, I talked about how common it is for writers to self-sabotage themselves. What I’ve discovered after working with hundreds of writers over the past decade as a writing coach is that self-sabotage usually takes a very specific form with creative people.
There are 3 self-sabotage traps I see writers fall into all the time, and what makes it so difficult to get out of these traps is that, on the surface, they seem logical. Each trap is a belief or statement that the writer makes to themselves, or a goal they set for their writing, that seems like it will move them forward. However, each trap does the complete opposite and only blocks the writer from making any progress at all.
Birthdays can be hard for many people, but they’re usually hardest on writers. Why? Because a birthday is a personal milestone that indicates another year has passed in your life—you’re one year closer to leaving this earth—and you still haven’t accomplished your writing dreams.
Maybe your writing dream is to finish your novel, or to write a self-help book based on your own life experiences that you know could really help people. Maybe you just want to finish a story—any story—because even though you’ve had a million ideas, you’ve never finished anything. So, when the day of your birthday rolls around, yet again, it only causes you pain, because it highlights just exactly how far away you still are from ever achieving these dreams.
Do you constantly compare yourself to other writers?
Do you set goals for yourself as a writer and then somehow fall short of them every time?
Do you start new writing practices full of enthusiasm, but then sooner or later you dread sticking with it?
If you’re like so many other writers out there, the answer to these questions is sadly, “yes.” And every time something like this happens to you, you end up in a pit of despair, right? You question yourself, your writing talent, and your ability to make your dreams happen.
When I work with a writer who is struggling to finish a novel—or struggling just to get through it—the first question I ask is about their characters. Specifically, how do they feel about their characters? The answers are always surprising.
In the past few months, I’ve gotten so many emails from creative people telling me they’re feeling isolated, alone, apathetic, and tired with everything going on in the world today. A lot of people have gone through big shifts in the past couple of years and they know they’re ready to step into their power and embrace their creativity, but the problem is, they just can’t seem to find the energy or guidance on how to do that.