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.
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.
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.
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.