You are getting ready to write your book, and your Critic tells you that you should be doing something else.
Let's get straight to the point. Your Critic is right! You should be doing something else. Your time is already filled with chores that you have to do, people depend on you to do them. So what your Critic is really asking you to do is to make sure that you carry out all the chores. Say to your Critic, "Thanks for reminding me that I should be doing something else too. Help me remember what they are and when they need to be done."
One way to remind yourself about your chores is to write a Checklist for the days when you will be writing. And add to that list the time you will spend writing. Perhaps certain chores can wait a day or two? Perhaps you can get certain chores done in less time than usual? Some days lend themselves to a reshuffle of chores, some days do not.
Chores are Opportunities
You can also turn the chores into an opportunity to continue writing. What's that? Every chore needs some of your attention, but not all of it. Yes, I'm talking about a kind of multi-tasking. For example, chores like cooking and washing-up can give you the perfect time to reflect, ponder, wonder, visualise, taste the success, smell the victory of having written your book. And all of those actions contribute in a positive way to the successful completion of your book in the time you allow.
Writing your first book?
As soon as any of us says that we want to do something different to what we usually do, to what other people expect us to do, we are taking a risk. In any change process, Getting from Here to There, we have to cross over the Gap, and that's the risk we must take if we are to keep growing personally and professionally.
And yet we are afraid to jump the Gap. It does not matter how difficult it is being Here, it does not matter how wonderful being There might be, the one thing that holds us in place is our fear of taking the risk of crossing the Gap between Here and There.
And the truth is, that risk is imaginary. You cannot physically know what the risk actually is until you take steps to cross the gap. And until you do, the risk is only in your mind. You are imagining it. You are making it up. You may be basing your assessment of the risk on previous experience, or tales told to you by other people. But whilst you are still living Here, you are making up the risks involved in getting to There.
And that is OK.
Perhaps being Here is not as bad as you thought. Perhaps being There will not be as wonderful as you hope. Your imaginary critics will tell you that writing a book in two days is difficult or impossible, not worth it, beyond your skillset, going to get you into trouble with the boss, will shock people, will make people laugh at you ... We all have these voices, they are normal and healthy. They are unfortunately very good at their job of keeping us safe, of holding us in place, of keeping us from naively stepping into a large gap and falling to our deaths.
And that gives us a clue as to how to deal with them.
Whatever else your imagination is making up to keep you from taking steps to cross the gap, your book will be lost. And that is a loss for you and every family member, friend, acquaintance, colleague and people you have never met who need to know two things. Firstly, whatever you would have told them in your book AND more importantly, that they too could face up to their imaginary critics, cross their gap and write their book in two days, or whatever it is they are hoping to do.
So, what can you do with your imaginary critics? What do you say so that you can lead the way in crossing the gap and showing your family and friends, and people you have never met, that they too can cross whatever gap they are afraid of crossing.
During the next two months I will be sharing specific techniques for dealing with your inner critics.
And since you have read this far, here is a clue.
Say "Thanks for warning me. What do I need to learn, in order to cross the gap?"
Because the words from the inner critic come from you! They are your voice keeping you safe from harm. They are doing a great job of warning you, but you need not let them hold you back from what you are inspired to do. Heed their warning, as a request for you to do some research, to continue learning and further your personal and professional development.
Its a request not a command.
Turn the statement into a question.
Writing your first book? How is it going?
Before we tackle the 'You Don't Have the Structure' Critic, look to your heart. What is driving you to write? Is it the benefit to other people? Is Is that why you are writing the book? Or is it the joy and pride you will feel when it is done. Is what is driving you the skills that will be learned along the way? What's your heartfelt reason? What's in it for you?
What is the beating heart of your story? The story is inside of you. It wants to come out into the world to be seen and heard. Why does it want to be heard?
You are going to give birth to the story. Are you prepared for the pain of birth? And what is that pain? Part of it comes in the form of imaginary, critcal voices in your head. They will tell you that you don't have the structure for writing a book, they will whisper, they will laugh, they will scorn and scoff. There are ways to prepare yourself for that.
Use the critical statement
You can change the critical statement to a question
When your Critic says "You have no structure," it means "You would benefit from having some structure." That's all. Do some research and find out what structures look and feel good to you. Go to the library and look out some books in the same genre as you wish to write. What structures do they use? You are free to choose any structures you feel like, try some.
You will not know which is best until you have tried the rest.
You must kiss many frogs before you find your prince.
Write Your Book in 2 Days
The Writer's Online Course
Take the Writer's Challenge
Martin Richards is a teacher, a business communication trainer and a certified coach.