Why You Can’t Push Yourself to Start Writing Your Novel (#1)

Posted by in Prose on Fire

P0Do you have an idea for a novel, but have trouble starting?

Perhaps you’re afraid of what people will think and don’t want to put yourself out there. Or maybe you can’t find the time, resources, or energy to get your story down during the day.

You may think that you lack willpower, or worse—that you’re lazy. Or maybe you question whether you really have the talent or smarts to compete with the millions of authors already out there.

Here’s a secret: the reason you’re not writing is probably none of the above. The more likely culprit is that you simply lack understanding of the writer mindset you must shift to before you can make your idea happen.

So what is the writer mindset?

Put simply, the writer mindset is the one that successful writers hold. This mindset helps them make the most minute decisions that make them:

  • extremely productive where others are unproductive
  • able to tell stories that others can’t put together
  • quick to publish where others drag out the project
  • likable when others comes across as self-promotional

You may be nodding your head, but wondering, how can I make the shift from where I am now to the mindset I need to be successful at this goal I’ve set for myself?

Stop trying to write. Instead, commit to understanding the writer mindset.

You can try to force yourself to write, but it’s not going to feel good, which is not going to make you want to continue.

So just stop trying! If you’re not writing on your own, it’s because your mind has a block (or blocks) on writing that is holding you back. Don’t try to climb over, crawl under, or otherwise circumvent these blocks, as doing so is like trying to push through a cement wall. Even if you were strong enough to do it once or twice, it’s not sustainable over the long term.

Instead, remove the block (or blocks) altogether. This will make the writing come easily… and with time, writing may even become the most fun you’ve ever had!

We’ll talk about removing blocks in a minute, but for now, don’t worry about taking your time removing blocks. You can’t force your own journey to becoming an author and without a doubt, trying to do so will lead to failure. That’s because we all have stuff to move past when we are committing to big changes in our lives. Change takes time!

Challenge those writers who haven’t done shit with their books.

There are always going to be writers who don’t walk the talk when it comes to writing and publishing their fiction. These writers will say things that make a lot of sense, but don’t get too caught up in their words—they don’t have the mindset you’re looking for!

The only way to truly achieve the writer mindset you need is to take consistent action and live the life of a writer (also known as actually hitting publish). So the people who don’t take action aren’t speaking with the mindset—they are instead speaking with a hollowed-out impersonation of the mindset, which is NOT going to help you. You can only understand the mindset from writers who have accomplished what you want to accomplish.

Stay friends with the impostors, but never pay close attention to them. The only thing you can gain from studying them is to become an impostor yourself.

Follow, friend, and fan those writers who are doing what you want to do.

In order to up your game, you must learn the ways of those who are on the next level. Spend time with them, consume their material, and pay close attention to the way they make decisions. It’s a simple as listening for phrases—how do they talk about their writing process? How do they talk about their books? How do they communicate with their audience?

Once you understand the how, move on to the why. Why did they decide to do this, or that? Why do they run their business that way, with those values?

The answers to these questions will change your life. Each time you answer a question, you remove more roadblocks to writing and sharpen your thinking about what really needs to happen next with your writing. Two important pieces fall into place:

#1 – The path you need starts to reveal itself, and you start to connect the dots about how YOU (not someone else) can tread down that path.

# 2 – The passion you need starts to grow inside you, until you are boiling over with excitement for your story and can’t wait to write it down.

THIS is what leads you to write, and nothing else.

Meet your mentors in-person if possible.

Nothing beats an in-person meeting. You can read and watch videos of someone, but those will ultimately always provide the mindset you need through a filter. It’s like picking out a wedding ring from a case—you can’t look at it from every angle, can’t tell how heavy or light it is, and can’t see how it feels on your finger. That’s not a way to make a decision about something you want to wear for the rest of your life.

A good mentor is someone who can shift your mindset, and you shouldn’t invest unless you know your mentor is like-minded. People who meet in person have an energy exchange that simply doesn’t happen online. It’s the equivalent of trying to wedding ring on as you walk around the store.

Use the online content as a way to window shop for mentors, but when you’re ready to truly dive into the mindset, arrange a meeting face-to-face. There are two approaches you can take:

You can contact someone and see if they are willing to meet with you. Depending on how much value you can add,

This may mean you have to buy face time, but that’s okay. You only have one life and there’s no better place to invest your time, money, and resources than in your future.

Put your writing education on autopilot.

An easy way to make the radical mindset shift you need is simply to automate the messages you’re receiving.

First, get rid of all negative messaging. This includes stuff like:

  • Your own negative thoughts and criticism of yourself, your ability to be productive, and/or your writing quality
  • Others around you who don’t support your writing dreams and/or the habits you know you need to build to make a go at this
  • Negativity in your environment, like a messy house that weighs you down or a lack of space to work effectively

Next, add in tons of positive messaging. This includes stuff like:

  • Reading about writing every day from people who are doing what you want to do
  • Doing as much low-pressure writing as possible, like journaling, doodling, outlining, taking notes on a TED lecture, and sharing snippets of your idea on social media
  • (When you’re ready) investing in training that helps you level up, improve your game, and take the next step

What do you think? Helpful? Not helpful?

If you like the work I’m doing, you can add your name to the list to receive free, regular updates to this blog. I am writing a lot about the writer mindset, and simply reading along will help shift your mindset to the one you need—the one that writers use to write, edit, publish, and market their books consistently.

Also, if you find yourself struggling with mindset, share in the comments what topics you want to dig in deeper on. This can come in the form of a question, a clarification, or a suggestion. This two second action may be just the thing you need today, so don’t skip this step!

Good luck with your mindset work!

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