Confession time: I’ve been wanting to write to you about the immense value of writing, and…I’ve honestly been stuck.
I thought you might get a kick out of that bit of irony.
My stuckness looks like this:
- putting busy work (a.k.a administrivia) in front of my writing time,
- trying to multi-task (project management via facebook messenger while writing),
- permitting household members to just walk into my work space, “Sorry to interrupt, but…” (then they proceed to share non-immediate thing that did not need my attention RIGHT FREAKING NOW)
That unraveling is a result of just being totally knocked off my center.
The past month I’ve had some big family drama, turmoil and tragedy, so I’ve been alternately grieving, raging, feeling sorry for myself, and praying for peace — in the midst of keeping my little enterprise here afloat.
After a month of hell and total exhaustion, I’m getting back into some semblance of whatever my new normal is going to be.
Right now, I’m writing to you from a plush hotel room in Mexico City, where I basically ran away from home in order to get some concentrated quiet time and focus.
My room is on the 14th floor (did you know there are still no 13th floors in many hi-rise buildings?), and the streets below are humming with cars, trucks, busses, car alarms, police whistles. A military brass band practices in Chapultepec Park.
The neighborhood is full of sidewalk cafes and narrow, curving streets, a great place for meandering strolls. My
sole soul intent is just to be present and alert to the moment.
Since so many of my writing ideas come to me visually, I use my iphone to capture images and ideas.
Writing longhand in my journal at cafes is a familiar rhythm of my creative practice that fills my well.
So now, let’s get to you, and your writing, shall we?
The Book Within You
When people learn that I’m a published author, it’s seems to open a doorway into sharing their secret dream: that they, too, want to write a book.
No matter what kind of work women are doing or yearn to do, almost every one of us has a book within, wanting to come out.
If not a book, than some kind of blog or series of articles that they know will be helpful to their audience.
They’ll say, “Oh! I have a book in me, too.”
Then comes another truth:
“I have this book I want to write, but I’m stuck!”
“I just can’t seem to get it done.”
Are you stuck writing your book?
The first question I ask, when people tell me they are stuck with their book, is:
“So, how’s your writing going?”
So I’ll ask that of you, right now. How’s your writing going?
Think of your answer… or let me know in the comments!
The typical response to this question is fascinating:
“Oh, but I’m not… really / actually / you know, writing…”
So now we know that the problem isn’t really how to write my book.
The problem really is:
- How do I get started writing in the first place?
- How do I keep going with my writing when I have no idea what to write, or even what I’m trying to say?
- How do I write consistently?
- How do I know what to write about? Exactly?
Getting started writing is the hardest part
Keeping going with your writing in the midst of uncertainty — well, that’s what writers DO.
The best way I know to help you write your book, if you’re not actually writing much yet, is to support you in developing a writing practice.
The Start Here page has lots of resources you can use right now to start writing.
More Writing Inspiration
Bookmark for later, or read now if you want to productively procrastinate a bit.
A Book is a Love Letter: Uncommon Advice to Overcome Writer’s Block