Making time to write down your reflections and thoughts is critical for most anyone who wants to sharpen their mind. But for a professional writer, personal writing is key because it allows you to build your dojo where you practice in secret so you perform well in public later. Though I have been fortunate to be paid to hone my writing skills through a few ghostwriting gigs, I struggled find time to write for myself. For many years, I struggled with it and often blamed circumstances and others for it. You know, things like a busy schedule, lack of direction, and fear of criticism. Here's how I've shifted my mindset and overcome these obstacles.
Busyness isn't exclusive
This was my go-to excuse for why I had not started writing online yet. I'm a father of three children under 10, heavily involved in my church, and work full-time as a marketing manager. Plus, I'm one of those husbands who helps with chores so there's that as well.
Saying I was busy freed me from the blame for not writing and any accompanying guilt I felt because of it.
But I've come to realize that busyness isn't exclusive or unique to me. Everyone is busy. Maybe not with the same things. But everyone fills their days with something and prioritizes based on personal needs or wants.
They say that, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. This has made sense to me ever since I heard it growing up. Busy people get things done. It's the lazy people that don't. Busy people manage their time, cut out what doesn't matter, and stick with something until it's done.
Revisiting this lesson made me realize that busyness is an excuse not a badge of honor.
We go nowhere standing still
What would I write about? Who was I writing for? Which platform would I write on (Medium, Wordpress, Substack, etc.)? Should I be niche or generalist? Questions like this buzzed in my head often and also cost me some money as I switched between platforms, some after months and others after days.I finally realized what was really happening: I was stagnate.
Instead of making progress toward a personal goal of mine (to write and publish my thoughts more), I had let analysis paralysis hold me back from starting. I've kicked this confused standstill out of my head by deciding to write about anything and everything here on my blog.
If you never start, you'll never start.
Me (spoiler: I say this later in this article)
Sure, people may like some of it but not others. Several readers might like my Bible content but not my marketing content or vice versa.But I'm going to do it anyway. I've started to develop a bias for action. A tendency to work with the MVP first and polish it into the Best Possible Product through iterations over time.
Crawl first, scrawl first
For a long time, fear of criticism kept me from writing and publishing my thoughts online. What if I wrote something that was inaccurate or seemed ignorant? What if someone didn't like what I wrote?
This kind of fear powerfully affected me since I tend to be a perfectionist. It's paradoxical of me to fear being mocked for doing something imperfectly since I have written for ghostwriting clients about overcoming imposter syndrome and embracing imperfect action.
Busyness is an excuse, not a badge of honor.
Me (remember, earlier in this article?)
But then again, writing about it isn't the same as doing it. That's why anyone can write about "how to be a good leader lead" but fewer people actually demonstrate good leadership. I digress.
Anyway - back to me being afraid of writing something that others didn't like or appeared infantile to someone...I've overcome this by realizing that starting is the only way to learn. Babies don't take a 5-week course on how to walk before they start toddling around. They just start doing it. Yeah, I know they aren't born walking (I'm a dad of three, remember?). But my point is that nobody mocks a baby for crawling before they walk. Only an idiot would do that because everyone knows we must crawl before we walk.
Applying this idea to my writing, I've recognized that I must scrawl before I write polished pieces. Okay, I'm apparently trying to rhyme with my baby analogy. I think that's my cue to go.
If you're on the fence starting to write more (or do anything, really), I hope this helps quick rant helps you realize two things:
The best way to learn is by doing.
If you never start, you'll never start.
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