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What if Every Writing Problem Was a Gift?

23 July 2014

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 July 23, 2014
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What if every problem you encountered in your writing was a gift? A challenge to deepen and strengthen your craft, your resolve?

 

What if every wall you hit was a test, to make you think harder, sharpen your skills, learn more?

 

What if every doubt and fear and wild horrific imagining (poverty, humiliation, failure) were the “bad guys” you have to face in the story of your own life, in order to be victorious (like the hero in your screenplay or book?)

 

What if instead of walking away from your computer and giving up, you remained in the chair, determined to try something, anything, even if it felt bad or clichéd?

 

What if you didn’t care what others thought of your writing, but poured every vulnerable thought and true thing inside your heart into your characters?

 

What if you expected the work to be difficult? And instead of freaking out when it was, nodded and smiled when it happened, saying, “Hello old friend…”

 

What if instead of living in fear of problems, you embraced them? Instead of shutting your eyes in the darkness, you opened them and looked around, letting your vision adjust so that you could see what was happening and why?

 

What if you understood that you are not so different than the characters you are writing about? That you will struggle, and doubt, and dip into the cave. But that if you stay on the path, and keep writing, you will achieve your writing dreams.

 

What if you worked harder than everyone else? Not for some imagined glory that will happen on a New York Times Best Seller List or at a Hollywood Premiere, but in service of telling a story that will simply make its reader feel something.

 

What if you embraced your life as its own Hero’s Journey and understood that ALL of the lessons are in the dark parts of the story.

 

What if every writing problem was a gift?

 

Could you unwrap it? Look inside? Could you stare at it, hard? Use everything inside that box to move forward?

 

Take action. When you experience a problem in your work, stop and think. How can you try something new? What is this problem trying to teach you? If you’re struggling with a craft issue, what steps can you take to improve your skill in this area? If you’re stuck in a plateau, how can you take a risk to lift your work to the next level? Could you shift your way of thinking such that you welcome these tough moments, and understand they are part of making you a better, stronger writer?

 

You’ll be shocked at how this one alteration in perception can change your writing (and personal) life.

 

Try it. See what happens…

 

xo Pat

 

Special thanks to Tony Robbins for posing this question at his Unleash The Power Event in Los Angeles. Yes I went, and yes, I walked on hot coals. And yes, one day I will write about it…

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