“If you want to be a writer, write.” Epictetus
If you want to be a dancer, dance. If you want to be a singer, sing. If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.
Act the way you want to become and you’ll become the way you act.
It’s all so simple: “If you want to be a writer, write.”
Epictetus, a Greek slave who found his freedom, said this hundreds of years ago. It’s still stunningly true and such profound advice: If you want to be a writer, write.
What gets in the way of doing this? Or more accurately, what do we put in the way of this. As my good friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert says, “You’re not lacking the ability, you’re blocking it.”*
So if we’re not lacking the ability to write, but blocking it, what roadblocks are we throwing up in our own way? How are we derailing, detouring, distracting ourselves? Mostly the two P’s:
Perfectionism: When everything has to be perfect, we stall ourselves. When our space, our circumstances, and even our prose has to be perfect, we get in our own way by giving ourselves the perfect excuse not to go forward. Antidote: Don’t get it perfect, just get it going. Perfection – or as close to it as we can get – comes from polishing, not empty, endless prepping.
Procrastination: When we wait to be inspired, we can wait forever. When we wait to be “in the mood” to write,” we can wait forever. Inspiration will strike so seldom that we’ll end up with a cupful of prose and an ocean of frustration. Antidote: Act differently than you feel. As Rob Gilbert puts it so well, “Actions create attitudes. Motions create emotions. Motions create moods.” Once you start to write, you’ll feel like writing. “Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it,” observed Madeleine L’Engle.
Epictetus said it best of all: “If you want to be a writer, write.” Enough said. Write on!
*Check out Dr. Gilbert’s fabulous Success Hotline: 973.743.4690.