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Leaving Behind Who You Were to Become The Writer You Are...

27 January 2016

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 January 27, 2016
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Change can be excruciating. But as writers, in order to make time for our practice and daily pages, we sometimes have to let go of things that have given us comfort in the past.

 

“I volunteer every week at my kid’s school.” “I have a full time job as a lawyer and I’m on the board of a local non profit.” “My job demands I put in sixty hours a week.” “My friends and family need me. How can I let them down?”

 

It’s crazy above the water. Lots of screeching and light and demands. But deep down below the surface, where we go when we write, are all the treasures.

 

Writing takes time. And our lives are so busy that sometimes, in order to find the time to actually produce pages, we must let go of the things we’ve always done.

 

It’s not necessary to completely drop the career you’ve established and which feeds you. But maybe you have to cut out that volunteering for awhile, or say no to people who ask you for favors. Maybe you have to tell your children, “I’m sorry, I have to miss your soccer game this weekend,” and believe that this doesn’t make you a bad parent (it doesn’t.)

 

You are a writer. You know this, in your deepest heart. It is who you ARE, why you were meant to be on this planet.

 

Here are some ways to let go of who you were, to become the writer you are… 

  1. Make a list of all the activities that you do outside of work. Which do you dread? Call these people and tell them you are no longer available.
  2. Do you have children? If they play sports, do you have to be at EVERY practice and game? Can you work out a deal with your partner or a relative/friend to create a carpool to lift some of the time burden? If not, can you sit in the car while your kid practices and write? (I spent two years in various school parking lots in my mini van rehearsing pitches.  It works!)
  3. Are you the person who loves to binge watch television series? Do you truly get pleasure from this? Or are you avoiding your writing? If the latter, cut off the TV service that provides you that programming. Start dedicating that time to writing your own shows.
  4. Are you the person who always says “yes” to requests from others? They want you to help them with some “small task?” Do they ask you to be on committees because you’re conscientious and get things done? Are you the person who is perceived as helpful, loyal and a great friend? Do you find yourself getting pissed off that you can’t say no?  Say no. You’ll get better with practice, and find your spirits and your page count lifting.
  5. Finally, are you willing to let go of the person who always puts others first, and choose yourself?
  6. Could you use your heart as your guide? Whatever makes you happy you do? Whatever doesn’t, you ditch?

 

Trust me, I’m not talking from some mountain top here. I struggle with this daily. But when I choose myself and my pages, the emotional/happiness payoff is huge.

 

Take Action!  Could you let go of the person you were to become the writer you ARE? Could you follow your heart and choose yourself and your writing? Do you have the courage to feel horribly uncomfortable and say no to others and yes to yourself?

 

If you think about these actions as supporting who you truly are, rather than disappointing others, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.

 

What if you saw yourself as a writer?

 

How many amazing stories could you tell?

 

xo Pat

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