On Getting in Your Own Way


I’m a happy little writing clam armed with tea and a rainy Sunday. 

Actually, I’m procrastinating. Big time. I’ve been writing a somewhat-steady 2,000 words a day as part of National Novel Writing Month, but this morning, I’ve done everything but write, including reading, an activity I try to avoid because I could be writing instead. 

It’s a breakneck pace, writing so fast. And I’m the kind of girl who likes to plan things out. Sure, I’ll just go with it, start a story, see what’s going on, but about 4 - 5,000 words in, I stop, see where I want it to go, begin doing research, and plot things out. 

As you can imagine, there’s really no time for that. In fact, it’s discouraged, as NaNoWriMo is more about quantity than quality

So why am I procrastinating this morning? 

It isn’t because I don’t like what I’m writing (in fact, it makes me giggle with glee when I re-read what I’ve written already). 

It isn’t because I’m unable to write (when I really get into the flow of things, I can actually write about 500 words in 20 min!).

It isn’t because I don’t want to (I do, I really, really do!).


It’s because my brain is getting in the way. 

I’m starting to think things like:

What if people don’t like this scene, or where this part is going?

What if I’m spending too much time with the characters and not enough on the plot?

What if I don’t have everything planned — is the story going to be any good without all that careful prep work? 

Why keep spending time on this — an entire month — if no one else is going to read it or I won’t make money from it?


I think the comment from my friend Beth summed everything up when she said (and I’m paraphrasing!): 

I’m so glad to hear you’re writing. I haven’t heard you this excited to write something in a long time. 

So the next time you’re sitting there with your journal, or a canvas, or clay, or a keyboard, or a pen in your hand, just let go and do it because it brings you joy. Because it makes you smile. Because you can pull something from your imagination and see it come into reality, even if no one else sees it. That’s the gold in life. I’d rather look back and say, “I had so much fun writing for that month!” than, “I wonder what would have happened if I had taken the risk and written a silly little story…” 

Plus, the enthusiasm from doing this one thing that brings you pure, untainted joy will spill over into other parts of your life. It’s infectious, joy is. 

I think I’m finally ready to sit down and write