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26 November 2014

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 November 26, 2014
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Hey Everyone–

 

Right now I’m in Bali, coaching at The Daily Love Writer’s Mastermind Retreat, working with some amazing warriors who are writing the first drafts of their novels, memoirs and screenplays in one month!

 

We’ve just passed the midpoint, and this is where the process gets tough.  As with any writing project, it all starts out fun, full of light, inspiration and momentum. But inevitably we hit stumbling blocks, doubt creeps in, we start wondering if we’re on the right track.

 

Suddenly, other ideas that have been percolating seem far more promising.

 

We feel like giving up.

 

Here are some things to remember when you reach this part of your writing journey.

 

  1. No matter how many times you start new projects, you will always come to this place.
  2. The difference between succeeding as a writer and failing is persistence through the plateaus and rough spots.
  3. Learning how to face your doubts and fears and craft issues will lead you to mastery.
  4. Giving up once, makes it easier to give up twice.
  5. When all seems black and horrible, be kind to yourself.  Give yourself a pat on the back simply for showing up and sitting in the chair.  Wine and chocolate are your friends.
  6. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for assistance.
  7. Write crap.  Sometimes by freeing yourself from the pressure to be perfect, gems appear.
  8. When you get stuck, experiment. Try something new with the problem character or plot element that might help you break through.
  9. If you’re lost, ask yourself, “What does my character want?  What action is he/she taking to get it?
  10. Know that the universe has your back.  All you have to do is sit down and do the work.

 

If you truly believe that the idea you are working on is bankrupt, then by all means, let it go.  But make sure this isn’t just the voice of resistance, letting you off the hook. There was something about this project that pulled you. Find a way to reconnect with it.

 

Take Action.  If you are caught in a spiral of wanting to give up, think about how many times this has happened before.  Did you give up?  What happened?  What could happen if you stayed with it?

 

Wanting to give up is a natural part of your writing Hero’s Journey.  Just like your main character, you will hit the Ordeal where fear and doubt and frustration appear. Can you face these feelings?  Can you fully feel them?  Can you move through them and lift up your sword and fight on to the end of the draft?

 

In writing, as in life, it’s the warrior who gets the reward. This process may be ugly and brutal and bloody, but it’s through taking this journey that the true lessons are learned.

 

I know you can do it.  Keep going.

 

xo Pat

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