Winning the Wrestle with the Writer's Chair
You would think that having a great story idea would make it easy to sit down in front of a computer and write it. It doesn't. I know that I am not alone when I say that one of the most challenging things about writing is actually sitting down in the chair and writing.
When I began pursuing a career as a novelist, this struggle threw me. After all, creating stories is something I loved doing, so why was I running away from it? And trust me, I was running away from it. If I heard the laundry buzzer, I'd rocket out of my seat to get it. If a door-to-door salesman rang the front bell, I was quick to answer it.
At the pace I was going, my goal of writing a book felt impossible. I had to overcome three underlying issues to win the wrestle and actually sit in my writer's chair.
It took me a while to realize the truth and longer to admit it. I feared that my writing wasn't good enough, and I was terrified of what others would say once they read my work. The delete key became my favorite button because nothing I wrote seemed to measure up to my favorite authors.
Your fears might be the same, they might be different, but here's something that they're likely to have in common. If you don't acknowledge and learn to manage your writing anxiety, your writing chair will remain a struggle to sit in.
I overcame my fear by accepting that first drafts of any story are meant to be awful. After all, most published authors go through several rounds of alpha readers and editors before their books hit the market. It's unfair to compare my first attempts to someone's published fiction. This acceptance gave me the freedom to let my initial draft be imperfect, to be kind to myself, and to focus on the story's forward momentum.
As for my fear of what others think of my writing, that answer came with three pieces of advice from other authors. The first is that if Shakespeare received one-star reviews, and Shakespeare is one of the best playwrights of all time, don't take one-star reviews too seriously. The other piece of advice is that people who leave one or two-star reviews are not your target audience. Look at some of the three-star reviews, see if they have a common issue with your writing and address that. You will never please everyone, so focus on the audience that shows interest in your work. Or better yet, don't read reviews. Lastly, your sense of self-worth should never be attached to your writing. What someone thinks of your writing does not determine your value as a human being.
If you're busy like me, scheduling writing time is vital. I learned the hard way that I needed to take my writing seriously before I could expect anyone else to. If you want to be a writer, you need to treat learning the craft with the consideration you would give a job.
That last sentence is challenging, I know. I have a family with two wonderful kids that often pull me in different directions. Playdates, volleyball practice, birthdays, grocery shopping, appointments, you know the drill. I was very good at making time for all of the things I deemed necessary but not so good at making time for my writing.
To combat this, I found myself a daily appointment scheduler. On Sunday evenings, I made a list of tasks to get done for the week and a list of goals. I then pulled out my appointment book and scheduled my time hour by hour. It made me more efficient and less stressed because I knew I had things covered. With my to-do list managed, I could dedicate time to my writing without feeling guilty. It also set times with my family and friends where they knew I was busy.
My next objective is to begin making monthly, three-month and yearly goals.
3. Health and Back Pain
Sitting for hours on end is taxing to the body. Don't be like me. I ignored the initial signs and had to see para health professionals for months to alleviate my shoulder, hip and back pain.
Some things to consider:
· Sit/Stand Desk or Laptop Stand
· Adjustable Desk Chair
· Good Desk Lamp
· Ergonomic Keyboard
· Ergonomic Mouse
Above all, remember to take the time to stretch, walk around, and drink water regularly when you write. I know if I don't, my body sure lets me know.
If you are struggling to sit in your writing chair, consider trying some of the things that have helped me. It may be just the step you need to win your wrestle.