We are setting goals we want to achieve, things we want to do, that lead to a place we want to be.
I struggled in the past to take action on my goals, I was ensuring my goals were reasonable and achievable and setting deadlines. But the deadlines came and went and I wasn’t any closer to achieving the goal.
The problem was that I wasn’t taking the appropriate action.
I knew what I had to do but I wasn’t doing it.
I started researching how to take action. Looking for tips on how to do the doing part of a goal. Everything pointed towards writing it down and away you go…but I wasn’t.
So what does stop us sitting down and typing out the 500 words a day, or the 20 minute run to build up to the marathon. There were times I struggled to sit at the desk let alone reach my daily word limit.
One reason we may not be taking action is fear. Whether that is a fear of not doing well, or not being able to do it at all, or what would change if we did do it. I watch authors being interviewed and I can think of nothing more frightening (just as one example).
Understanding why we are not taking action is the first step to taking it.
There are times that I still struggle (such as over the last week). The main reason my writing stalled was a fear of not knowing what part of my draft I should work on next, or what needed to come next. I know from experience that once I sit down and start typing out a sentence or two then a scene will develop on the page. It might not be any good, it might be axed in the next draft without a thought but it will progress my writing.
But I worked myself into a state about not knowing that I don’t even have a sentence to start with and so I’m not sitting down at all. This slows down everything including my other writing because if I’m not drafting then I shouldn’t be working on other things (crazy but the brain can be very disruptive at times). I also know that working on other projects can help give a jolt to a current draft.
The idea is to know why I want to do this and what it would mean if I don’t.
So to take action I have to:
Book a time and sit down. This is usually 5am (every morning) but as I struggle this hasn’t worked so well. On the weekend I spent some time with a writing buddy. Sitting together meant I had to at least sit at the laptop and try something.
Plan. But this is where I was stuck, I didn’t know where to go next. I usually have an idea or sentence at least. Forcing myself to the computer I thought I might have to force my protagonist into some form of action and see where it went. So I put her on a horse (and she was nervous) and sent her out into uncertainty and a whole new wonder opened up before us.
Have a back up. If I still can’t get beyond that one sentence, start on something else, plan or outline a blog post, edit that short story for writers group, go over the section on taking action for my action ebook…
Think about what will happen if I don’t at least try. – stuck in my day job until I am 80; my story will remain unfinished; I will be grumpy for the rest of my life because I get grumpy when I’m not writing and so my family will eventually run away…
There are lots of reasons that stop writers from writing but fear is a big one.
Fear can be debilitating. It can stop your writing dead, sometimes before you even start.
Work out what you fear. Even writing out what does scare you might help to move beyond it.
If fear is what is slowing you down (or stopping you altogether) face the fear and get on with the writing. It is ok to be crap. It is ok to produce a poor first draft. You can face it later for editing. Have a back-up plan to keep the writing muscles working because not writing makes it harder to get writing again.
Find what you fear first and then find a way to beat it. For what could be worse than not writing?
Over the coming weeks I will be talking about other reasons we don’t take action and this will be expanded in my upcoming ebook.
What fear prevents you taking action and what have you tried to beat it?
Image by Brian0918 via Wikimedia Commons