One of the biggest problems I see writers struggle with is that we often feel like we’re going nowhere with our writing. We may feel like we’re not making any actual progress, or we’ve been working on a project for a really long time, and still, we’re not seeing measurable results. When we’re in this painful place with our writing, we often feel alone and like we lack support, and like we also lack the structure we need to keep going with our writing.
In my last article, How Your Brain Sabotages Your Writing Process (and What to Do About It), I talked about how writers with trauma around creativity and self-expression are often taken down during the writing process because their nervous system gets freaked out when they sit down to write.
When the nervous system gets freaked out, it sends danger signals to the brain warning that the creative process needs to be shut down immediately. The brain then sees any creative effort the writer is making as an imminent threat in the vicinity and takes action to stop the writer from writing, usually through some insidious form of writer’s block (freezing, paralysis, distraction, sleepiness, etc.).
The big question most writers have when they discover this is what’s going on with them and why they have so many problems writing is: How do I make my nervous system stop doing that?
If you’re a writer who struggles with writing, then you know that one of the biggest challenges you face is calling yourself a writer. Writers who suffer from severe procrastination, fear and self-doubt, or who are just in a place in life where the writing is not really happening, run into this obstacle all the time.
You know you’re a writer deep within your soul. You know that writing does something for you that nothing else can, and when you do actually sit down and write, or finish something, you feel fantastic. But it’s the sitting down and doing it that is such a problem for you.
If this is you, then you know that feeling of imposter syndrome. That fear that you’re nothing but a fraud, because you want to say you’re a writer—you know that you ARE a writer—but it feels like you can’t back that up with anything if you’re not actually writing.
This was me, many years ago. There was nothing I wanted more in the world than to write, but I just couldn’t do it. And then I found the key that changed everything for me, AND that got me through writing my very first book, start to finish.
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.