Hello and thank you for joining us today! I’m so glad you’re here.
Today, I wanted to give a shout-out to Tobias, who wrote in with a question that inspired today’s episode, Get Motivated and Get Writing.
In fact, this got me thinking that If you have questions you’d like to hear answered on DIY MFA radio, send an email to the podcast team at podcast[at]DIYMFA[dot]com.
Here’s an excerpt of the message Tobias sent me:
“My problem is this: My writing is not going well and I’m thinking of giving up for good. I’ve been blocked for a long time. When I sit down to write I can only manage a few sentences… when nothing productive results from my writing sessions, I feel like a fraud, which gets me more and more discouraged.”
Thanks for sharing your struggle, Tobias. You should know that these challenges are actually super-common and most writers experience them at some point in their writing lives. Remember: you are not alone. Today I want to dig into those issues a little more deeply and give you some good ways to combat them. Tune in below for five tips to battle these challenges.
- Fight against imposter syndrome. This is that feeling we get that we’re a fraud and people are going to “find us out.” But guess what? Everyone has it. At one point or another, everyone feels like they are just faking it and that one day everyone else will find out. It’s important to remember that though you may FEEL like the only one who is struggling, you are NOT alone.
- Fake it ‘til you make it. Sometimes you have to pretend to be who you want to be before you can make it real. You may not have it all together quite yet, but eventually you will hit your stride and feel confident.
- Build momentum. Sir Isaac Newton says “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.” If you are already writing on a regular basis, it’s easy to keep going. If not, it can be tough to rev up that motor and build up that momentum. Remember that you have to start somewhere in order to get moving. I recommend starting with something small and low stakes and then just keep going.
- Make it a habit. It takes humans about 2 weeks to form a habit, so give yourself that time to build up your writing “muscle.” Start by writing just 15 minutes per day. The regularity will help build the habit, but by only committing to 15 minutes a day, you set yourself up for success. Give yourself something fun and easy to do, something to stretch those literary muscles and get you warmed up. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, just focus on getting it down on paper. Once you build up that momentum, you can move on to bigger projects. Try the Writer Igniter on DIYMFA.com for fun writing prompts to help get you going.
- Keep the stakes low. It’s important that when you get back to writing you start small, so that you don’t discourage yourself. If you sit down to write the great American novel, you’ll likely freeze up. Remember that a writing habit is something you build a step at a time, not something that you wake up with one day. Better to take consistent baby steps than trying to do too much too fast and then giving up altogether.
Expert tip: Put the projects aside that you work on over these two “primer” weeks and don’t look at them at LEAST until the two weeks is up. This way you avoid judging your work prematurely and won’t derail your writing before you’ve had a chance to build up that habit.
Thanks again to Tobias for inspiring today’s show. To all my listeners: I hope these tips help you to get motivated and get writing this year! If you do try writing for 2 weeks, 15 minutes per day, please report back here and let us know how it goes. And of course, if you have questions you’d like to hear answered on DIY MFA radio, send an e-mail to the podcast team at podcast[at]DIYMFA[dot]com, and you just might hear it featured on the show!
We have a couple of very exciting episodes coming up so make sure you subscribe via iTunes and hop on the DIY MFA email list so you’ll get all the updates. Next week, tune in to hear about how to get yourself motivated to write a book in 2015. Plus later this month, I’ll share an interview with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick where they talk about their new book The Art of Social Media. They share some amazing tips about how to maximize your social media impact and I can’t wait to share those with you in a few weeks!
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.