When was the last time you wrote a page? Can you recall?
Don’t panic if you can’t. So many of us struggle keeping up with writing although many are good at starting it.
The truth is writing is a challenge. To write every day or very often is even a bigger challenge.
The question then is what keeps us from writing regularly, or writing at all. In my opinion, there are three simple but critical problems which are difficult for most of us to overcome.
But, the good news is there are ways to fix them. Let me explain them one by one and provide tips on how to overcome these 3 problems to remain on top of your writing goals.
We get distracted too often and too easily. Watching TV for endless hours is the most common distraction for many. Other distractions include spending most time eating out or gossiping with friends. Laziness, long showers and oversleeping are other distractions. Whatever your distractions are, find them and try to contain them. Instead of binge-watching The Game of Thrones and the never-ending shows and soap operas, spare some time for writing every day. There is no reason for you to be not able to take out fifteen minutes of your time. If you can not, you will never do it.
I know “procrastination” is the most clichéd word, but it is a serious problem. Procrastination and distraction feed on each other. We need or find a distraction and then procrastinate. Most of the procrastination comes from excuses. Fight the urge to delaying and keeping writing practice for tomorrow or the weekend which mostly never comes. Get out of bed at 3 in the morning if you have to, to write. Lose sleep but write. Take notes of ideas that come to your mind for they never stay with you for more than a few seconds. ALWAYS keep a diary and a pen in your pocket and by your bed to take notes, even if you have to in the dark with little window light from the street lamp post.
Suzy Kassem says, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” One can not be more correct about the effects of self-doubt. She is right, it makes you think less of yourself and hence expect less from it. In writing, doubt and fear are real, recurrent and inescapable. I encounter them every day. How to let go of this self-doubt then? The good news is that it is certainly surmountable. Maintaining discipline in writing is where you should start because unless you write regularly, overcoming self-doubt is a wild goose chase.
To further defeat doubtful thoughts read and read a lot. James Allen’s As You Think is a great book for “self-empowerment.” Allen says you are who you think you are or want to be. According to Amazon’s review “The book… not only reveals to us that the keys to success are within our own minds, it shows us how to use these keys to unlock the greatest fulfillment we can imagine.”
If you can overcome these 3 problems, nothing can stop you from becoming a writer who keeps their pen moving even if what goes on the page carries no sense and meaning.
Keep that pen running. The pages will make sense eventually. It happens to all of us. But only those who stick to it get better at it.
Author: Aslam is a writing Lecturer and Ph.D. student of Global Affairs at Rutgers University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @aslam_Kakar