While I most often get clients and students who are well aware that they have problems writing, they don’t often know that the reason for this is because they are an intuitive writer. Intuitive writers work in a way that deviates from the norm, and it’s this deviation that can cause a lot of misunderstanding and pain to the writer who is struggling, because intuitive writers tend to get blocked and shut down when they try to use mainstream writing methods.
I put together a basic list of 5 clear signs that indicate you are most likely an intuitive writer. If you hit every one of the items on this list, then chances are high that you’re going to have writing problems if you try to use mainstream methods.
As a writing coach who has worked with hundreds of writers over the past decade, I’ve found that most of the writers who come to me have the same types of problems, and one of the biggest struggles they deal with is finishing anything.
This type of writer always tells me the same thing:
“I get really excited in the beginning of the project, and then the excitement dies.”
“I was off to a strong start and wrote a lot, but now I have no idea where the story is going and it feels like a chore to figure it out.”
I feel a deep sense of shame about the fact that I haven’t finished anything. This must mean I’m not a real writer, or not a very good writer.”
This type of writer also tends to feel isolated and alone in their struggle. They constantly compare themselves to other writers who seem to be thriving, creating, and most importantly, producing.
I love it when I get a new client like this, because I immediately know where to start. And once I reveal what’s really going on, the writer experiences this immense feeling of relief. They finally understand that they are NOT wrong as a writer. They are just using the wrong type of writing method for them.
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 my last article, One of the Biggest (and Most Dangerous) Myths in the Writing Community, I talked about the dangerous idea that is so prevalent in the writing community that “creativity has to be hard.” This idea is so dangerous because it stresses writers out to the point where they are totally consumed with anxiety and they then bring a ton of resistance to their writing projects, or can’t write at all.
Today, I’m talking about WHY we are so susceptible to this toxic belief and why it can be so hard to uproot it from our creative practice, like a tenacious weed that just won’t let go.
The reason is because, as a society, we are almost wholly dependent on our brains. We use our brains to navigate our world, interpret all information, and make every decision, very rarely ever checking in with our hearts. We have been programmed and trained to operate in this way from an early age, and if we do, by chance, happen to be a person who has broken out of this way of doing things and has tried to find greater balance by reconnecting with our heart, we are usually shamed in some way, and told we are “too idealistic,” “too sensitive,” and made to feel that we’re even possibly just slightly stupid.