“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” — Isaac Asimov
Writers have varied needs, so as a coach for writers, I fill many roles for my clients. Some people need their coach to give gentle nudges, others want companionship and commiseration, some seek help with the nuts and bolts of the craft, and some need a hardass to stand over them with a whip until they finish their books. My job is to do what is best and most helpful for each of my clients, whatever that may be.
Ahem. The following message is for all you procrastinators needing the hardass whipcracker. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own risk.
Because your job is to WTFB. Write the F***ing Book.
Will that be easy? No. Writing a book isn’t a simple task.
But do it anyway.
You procrastinate because of fear. Whether it’s fear of failure, or of success, or of anything else, the type of fear doesn’t much matter. Because fear is a normal part of the process of writing for almost every author, and for almost every book. Chances are, fear is going to be there, on some level, no matter what. Even on the days when beautiful words are flowing effortlessly onto your pages.
Fear is perfectly normal.
Being scared doesn’t have to matter. Because the mere existence of fear doesn’t indicate anything about your book, your talent, or your future.
Really. It doesn’t mean a thing. If you’re alive and you’re human, you’re going to be scared sometimes. It’s normal.
So don’t let fear stop you.
In recent years, a published and incredibly talented friend of mine has been waffling about whether to continue writing. Her prose is so good that she makes other brilliant writers drool. The Goddess of Prolific and Swoon-Worthy Words has rung her doorbell on many an occasion. Yet at times, I’ve had to drag my friend by her lovely locks to the scary Writing Chair, shackle her to it, and go open the door for the Goddess—otherwise, my friend would be feigning deafness and cowering under the duvet. It’s the darnedest, most contrary thing I’ve ever seen.
And yet it’s completely understandable to anyone who’s spent time in That Chair.
I myself was “blocked” for many years—which, for me, is just shorthand for I was too scared to write.
Let me tell you, the pain of NOT writing, the guilt and shame of wasting creative dreams, is MUCH worse than the pain of actually writing.
And yet some people choose to take on the greater pain.
Why is that? Consider that old saying: the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. (Or at least that’s what the D.Y.K.—the devil you know—insists, often and loudly, and right in your ear.)
Devils? Sure, they’re out there. Call them what you will: D.Y.K., Inner Lizard, Bitchy Inner Critic, AntiMuse. But whatever you name yours, whatever you call your particular fear, ignore its whispering. Or duct tape its mouth and lock it in a soundproofed closet. It will only lead you back into the pain of Not Writing.
So feel the fear. Go ahead. Wallow in it.
And then sit down and WTFB.
Do it or don’t. Because either you want to be a writer, and you’re willing to do what it takes to make that happen, or you’re not.