If you want to be a writer, write!
Weekly word count: -1370
Funny how you can spend time on your manuscript and deliver a negative weekly word count.
Does that ever happen to you?
I’ve spent about 14 hours (according the time my document has been open this week – word does this for you, btw, if you didn’t know – go to ‘Properties’ under File.) working on my manuscript, focussing upon a 3000 word section to send over to Emma Read, who’s mentoring me via WriteMentor Spark ⚡️.
Why is that relevant? It’s made me write. And polish. And spent TIME on my work.
I sometimes moan about not having enough time – so many of us do. But when I really am honest with myself, I do have the time.
There are spells of 20-30 mins where I scroll Twitter.
There are times where decide to watch a tv show or do something (anything) else but write.
My daughter is now at school. I have about 4-5 hours during the day as I start my part of the shared paternity leave.
So what is my chief obstacle?
It is NOT time.
That’s a lie. However busy I am, I must be honest and say I do have the time.
The biggest problem I have is ME.
Yup, lazy, procrastinating, flawed, annoying me!
Like the characters in so many great books, the greatest force of antagonism is always yourself. And boy am I the biggest, baddest of antagonists to myself.
I often give very wise advice (from other people) to all of the WriteMentor community about writing, being more productive and doing this thing better.
But I NEVER take the advice myself. I wrote a newsletter piece recently on the trick of writing just 8 words.
Did I do that?
I’m going to post a really famous piece of inspirational prose, which I first heard in the awesome Coach Carter, but is from a speech by Marianne Williamson, and which was quoted by Nelson Mandela.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Wow, that’s powerful, isn’t it?
It really raises the hairs on my arms and gives me goosebumps. It also couldn’t be more right for me.
I am scared, not of rejection, but of success.
I am terrified by my light, by my writing potential, by the thought of everything that success could bring. About how it will change my life and how I view my writing.
I play small, constantly downplaying my writing and it’s importance in my life.
And by doing so, I not only cheat myself, I cheat the many others with whom I could potentially give permission to do the same.
And all of this is deeply set in fear. I am terrified of that version of me.
I always have been, even before writing.
I did the same at school, always putting in just enough effort to do well, but never enough to shine, even though I could have potentially.
With my rugby, again lots of talent, but I never trained with the application and intensity that would have yielded greater rewards.
Somehow that comfort zone of being away from the spotlight seems to suit me – I don’t want my talents to shine or be seen by others to their full extent.
As you all know, I am hugely self-destructive by nature and much of that comes from my childhood.
A lack of love (or perceived lack, due to absent reinforcement or verbalised statements of love from parents) or acknowledgement of achievements (messy separation and divorce meant neither parent had much interest in school/rugby/university achievements) has resulted in my shaped and possibly warped idea of self.
I’ve spent years analysing and studying the psychology and neurochemistry of my personality and flaws and I have become stuck in a loop of helplessness, where I can’t seem to escape the damage of my childhood.
This is why I help others so readily, why I became a teacher to help young people, or started WriteMentor to help other writers.
I get great joy from helping and seeing others step into the light and become all that they can be, whether it’s my students or the writers in the WM community.
Because I am so super aware and conscious of my own flaws, it doesn’t necessarily help and while I’ve gone through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to escape the cycles of negative thought and emotion that encapsulate my inability to love myself or be kind to myself, or do things which bring me the happiness they could, I find myself in a perpetual loop of darkness, of regret and anger, where I get annoyed at my failure to act, to shine as I should, but yet completely unable to do the very things I need to, to change.
I guess if I was a character, I’d be somewhere near my Darkest Hour right now. I am probably at my lowest point since I started writing.
However, as we know, this is also the point where a hero will Gather a Team, where they will Storm the Castle and where they will rise and overcome their Antagonist in the final Climax.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could blog in 6 months, discussing the Resolution of this story.
To talk about how I finally had wandered from the Dark to the Light.
Just recently, I began working with the wonderful Emma Read, via our own WM Spark programme – I have begun to Gather the Team.
Next task: Storm the Castle.