The Surprise in Becoming a Writer

These last few weeks have been challenging.

I’ve started writing my first book and I’m realize I don’t know what it looks like to be a writer.  Apparently, I have plenty of ideas about it.

The Breakdown

I started a few weeks ago with the instructions to treat writing like a job – showing up and writing daily.  And as I typically do, I started strong for the first week and a half.  Then somewhere along the way I got stuck.  For a whole week.

I felt ashamed.  And hypocritical.  I told myself I was an imposter.  My inner monologue was seriously impacting my life, not just my writing.  I dreaded the call with my coach where I would have to confess that I had fallen short of his expectations.  At the same time I secretly hoped he would tell me I was not cut out to be a writer and I could give up on this dream and get out of all this discomfort I had created.

To my surprise, he met me with the compassion and understanding I needed and was sorely lacking.
As we reflected on my first 3 weeks of the journey I realized that while I did not write for a week, I did write on other days and had created quite a bit of content.  Why was I so filled with guilt and shame?

The Hidden Culprit

As it turns out, I had an idea in my mind of how it should look to write a book and I was busy comparing myself to the idea in my head.  According to my invented standard, I should be naturally great at writing and it should be easy for me.  Even on my very first attempt.  Meanwhile, I lost sight of the learning and discovery that was the true purpose and joy of writing.

As I began to distinguish my hidden standards, I realized they sounded familiar.  I had similar expectations of myself as a new meditation teacher.  And as a new performance coach.  In fact, these standards got in the way anytime I took on a new, big challenge.  I was shocked to see how many times I’d been derailed.  And here I was about to do it again.

I let out a big sigh.  With all of my education, training, and experience I thought I would have kicked this pattern at this point.

My coach gently reminded me that I will always deal with myself.  That my inner conversation about how things should be going will never disappear.  The gold is in learning to recognize it and replace it with a more loving, supportive, and empowering conversation.

The Practice

After I hung up the phone, I reflected on what life would look like if I was able to notice all of my standards and ideals about myself and my life and replace them with empowering and loving conversations instead?  How free would I feel to be myself with no explanation or apology needed.  I felt alive.

I’ve started back at writing again.  This time I’m approaching each session with curiosity, freedom, and ease.  I’m not punishing myself if I miss a day.  I’m reminding myself that I’m on a journey called “learning to be a writer”.  I remind myself again. And again. And again.  And I’ll keep it up until I have my first book complete.

Perhaps for the rest of my life.