Learn to Fall in Love with Writing Again

What is it that made you fall in love with writing. Can you remember?

For me, it was the safety of it. Writing always felt like the only place I could really be myself—my messy, confused, convoluted self. Maybe it was the same for you.

Or maybe it was grief that drove you to the page.

Maybe it was desperation or pain or frustration. I don’t know.

But if you’re anything like me, the honeymoon phase with writing has come and gone.

At first it seemed so cathartic and easy, didn’t it?

You pictured yourself escaping someday to a cabin for a weekend, sitting perched at your computer with a cup of coffee in hand, sun streaming in. The birds would chirp. Lake water would lick the shore. Wind would blow through the grass and words would flow through your fingers like lightning.

Photo credit: Victor Bezrukov, Creative Commons

Photo credit: Victor Bezrukov, Creative Commons

Brilliance would be so easy!

Instead, it’s more like this: you drag your tired butt out of bed at 5:00am, tripping over kid’s toys and re-warming your old, cold coffee (because you didn’t have time to make new stuff). You sit down to your computer and pose there, ready to record what comes to mind.

But the only thing that comes is garbage. Total garbage.

Before long, you’re asking yourself, “why am I doing this? Is this a waste of time? Does this even matter?”

Not exactly the love story you pictured, is it?

But here’s the thing. If you want to reignite with your passion with writing, you’re going to have to put aside all the tips and techniques. Not forever. Just for now.

If you want to rediscover your love affair with writing, you’re going to need to go back to the basics. You’ll need to uncover (or recover if you’ve had it before and lost it) your unique voice.

When we can discover our voice as writers, we have the power to do just about anything we want.

Uncovering your unique voice as a writer isn’t easy. There’s no formula or step-by-step process. It’s not about memorizing a list of tips or techniques or tricks.

Even some of the most well-trained writers haven’t accomplished this.

But the value of uncovering your unique voice as a writer is this:

1. It will build your confidence as a writer.

Again, even the most well-trained authors don’t necessarily understand their unique voice, or what sets them apart as a writer. But my guess is, the writers you love—the ones who have written books you can’t put down—are those who understand their voice.

They know their message. They know themselves. They know how to connect with an audience.

It doesn’t take years of training to be confident in yourself as a writer. But it does take this: an understanding of what sets you apart.

How much time have you spent thinking about what sets you apart?

2. It fuels your creative energy.

Something really wonderful happens when you begin to gain confidence in your unique voice. Suddenly, you have an energy when you come to the page.

You aren’t trying to ration your energy, or guard it, or save it for later.

Because you’ll find your creative energy is renewable.

3. It gives you permission to write for writing’s sake.

For a long time I thought I would feel like a “real” writer when I got a degree, or when I made a bunch of money doing it, or when I had a publisher, or when I published my first book. But even when I finished doing those things, I still didn’t feel like a real “writer”.

It wasn’t until I began uncovering my voice as a writer that I realized:

Far better than any book contract, any amount of fame or notoriety, any level of success was the feeling that I knew my strengths as a writer, was able to share my story in a way that was honest and clear, and could see how my story connected to a wider audience.

Are you interested in discovering your unique voice as a writer?

If so, I’m gathering a group of writers to walk through the process together in an online course I created called Find Your Writing Voice.

The course will last 4 weeks and will be packed with assignments, activities and lessons guiding you through your own process to rediscover your love for writing. It’s going to be really fun and enlightening as we work together to re-discover why we love this crazy, fun, exciting confusing process so much.

Your love for writing is there. You just have to find it again.

Join us by registering HERE

You Don’t Need to Grow Your Audience. You Need This Instead.

I meet people daily—teachers, lawyers, moms, college students, web developers—who want to be writers. They don’t want to quit what they’re doing, necessarily. They just feel in their gut they have something to say.

Usually, they’ll say something like, “I’ve always wanted to write a book someday… or everyone always tells me I should write down my story.”

My response is, “you should!”

That’s when the excuses start. “No, I could never… I don’t have the time… no one would ever read it… what makes my story unique?… there are a million people out there who are better writers than me…”

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Here’s the funny part.

I also work with people on a daily basis who are writers. They’re usually teachers or lawyers or moms or college students too, but they’re also bloggers or aspiring authors or storytellers and they reach out to me because they need a writing coach.

“Okay,” they admit. “I want to be a writer. But I’m not sure how.”

I tell them that’s a great place to start.

But you know what really gets me about working with these writers?

They say the same things to me everyone else says. They say, “What if I spend all this time writing my story and no one ever reads it? Why should I do this when there are a million people out there who are better than me? What makes me unique?”

And you know what I tell them?

I say: great questions. Those questions are an excellent place to start. In fact, I suggest we actually answer those questions. Like, let’s put them down on paper and see if we can answer them for ourselves.

  • What is the point of writing when I’m not sure if anyone will read it?
  • Why should I do this when there are a million writers out there who are better than me?
  • What does make me unique?

And after years of making myself ask and answer these questions—and making hundreds of other writers do it, too—this is what I’ve come to.

The point of writing when I’m not sure anyone else will read it is that it changes me.

It really doesn’t matter if anyone else ever reads it, or if it becomes a New York Times Bestseller or if an agent picks me up or I get a publisher and make a million dollars and get to quit my job. I mean, sure, all of that would be nice, but it isn’t the purpose of writing.

It isn’t the reason we do it—is it?

And of course there are writers out there who are better at writing than I am.

That will always be true, no matter how talented I become. Can you imagine if I said, “I’m never going to play tennis again because Andre Agassi and Serena Williams will always have me beat? Or, what if I were to say, “you should never play tennis again, unless you can beat me.”

My guess is, you would say, “but what about the joy in playing tennis?”

“What about the exercise, the friendship, the fun?”

The same is true for writing. Writing doesn’t have to be about growing a following or building a platform or getting a million people to read your work. It doesn’t have to be about growing your career. It can be, and if it is, you have to start where everyone starts—right where you are. But it doesn’t have to be about any of that.

Writing can be about becoming yourself.

In fact, I’m finding, when I make it about this—about becoming myself, rather than becoming famous—I’m much happier and more productive in the end. And, as a happy benefit, when I write for the right reasons, the audience tends to to follow.

And finally—the answer to the third question.

What makes me unique is I am me.

No one else in the whole world is like me. No one else has my temperament, my intellect, my experiences. No one else talks exactly like me, or has my same quirks. No one else spaces their hangers perfectly apart in their closet or listens to the same song on repeat 100 times while working on a project (yes, I do that. Don’t judge).

I’m perfectly my own person, perfectly valuable, perfectly me.

Saying, “my voice doesn’t matter” is like saying, “I don’t matter,” and although I’m certain at times we each believe that is true, it feels like a tragedy.

But what if we changed our motives for writing?

What if it wasn’t about becoming famous or selling a bunch of copies? What if it was just about becoming ourselves?

If that were the case, I have a feeling our motivation would drive us to write—even on days when it didn’t feel like anyone was reading, or days we worried no one would ever read. I have a feeling it would help us trust the process and lean in and stay true to our voices and our message—no matter the audience.

When we can do this, it’s almost like magic.

Our writing improves. Our audience grows (slowly, but surely). We become more wholehearted, well-rounded people.

Our healing becomes healing for others.

If you’re interested in growing a huge audience or selling a bunch of copies or becoming famous, I’m not sure I can help you.

But if you’re interested in this—in learning what it looks like to see yourself, to listen to yourself, to know yourself and to show up on the page, I have really good news for you.

I created a course for you—and for anyone who wants to become a better writer.

I designed this course specifically to help you:

  • Gain confidence in your innate ability as a writer–to draw out the talent already inside you
  • Achieve clarity by pinpointing your message
  • Grow in your satisfaction by teaching you how to connect with an audience in an authentic way.
  • Improve your productivity by teaching you to generate and re-generate creative energy

Whether you’re a mom, a college student, a teacher or a lawyer who wants to write but has been too afraid to start, or you’re already writing but aren’t sure about your next step, I challenge you to join me in this four-week journey to discovering your unique voice.

You won’t regret it. I promise.

Get Started With Find Your Writing Voice Today

Why Smart, Creative People Underestimate Themselves and How to Quit

Have you ever noticed how really smart, really creative people often totally underestimate themselves?

I see this in my work pretty much every day. I meet people who are brilliant thinkers, good writers, creative, passionate people who say things like:

  • “There are plenty of good musicians out there… the world doesn’t need me.”
  • “I would love to ______, but I don’t have the time, the energy or the money.”
  • “If only I were like [fill-in-the-blank], I could be successful someday.”
  • “I want to write a book or make music or build furniture, but so-and-so is already doing it.”

They are constantly under-playing themselves, staying small, talking themselves out of their dreams have and suffocating their creativity by comparing themselves to other people.

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If I’m honest, I have to admit I do this, too.

It’s a habit I’ve tried to break, but I find myself slipping into it every now and then, especially when I’m tired, or when I’ve invested myself into a project and I’m feeling particularly vulnerable. All the statements I listed above are things I’ve said to myself.

But even more than that, I find myself living out of the following totally powerful, but completely untrue belief systems:

  • Success is only reserved for certain kinds of people—and I’m not one of them.
  • No matter how long or hard I work, it’s not likely I’ll achieve the things I want in life.
  • If only I were more talented, or more business-savvy, or quicker-on-my-feet (less like myself) I would be more successful.
  • Maybe, someday, I’ll catch a “big break” and that will change everything
  • Success is mostly about luck. I wish I were lucky like those other people.

When I think about it—and get really honest with myself, I realize there is a really distinct reason why I do this.

These beliefs are protections against disappointment and rejection.

There Are No Guarantees

One of the hardest parts about dreaming is we don’t have any way to know if the things we imagine for ourselves will ever become a reality. We have no way to know if what we most want will ever be close enough to grasp.

You can want to be married, want to own your own business, want to write a book, want to make the New York Times Bestsellers list, want to have children, want to own a home, want to be a millionaire, or want to move to another country—but will you ever get those things?

There’s no way to know for sure. There are no guarantees.

Learning not to underestimate ourselves requires learning to deal with rejection, to accept disappointment, to be open to redirection and to know, no matter what happens, life is better when we live aligned with our authentic selves.

Living open to our potential gives us a ton of freedom—but it also leaves us incredibly vulnerable.

So what if this is you—how can you stop?

If you are a smart, creative person and you find yourself constantly underestimating your potential (In other words, if you’re sitting here reading this, thinking, “Oh, I’m not that smart or that creative…”) this next part is for you.

Here are a few things you can do to shift your reality and live in line with your truth.

Agree that Choosing to Believe in Your Limitless Potential is Not Arrogant

Choosing to believe our potential is limitless is not an arrogant way to live, although a lot of sensitive, creative people tend get trapped in this belief. Choosing to believe in your limitless potential is the most incredibly humbling way to live.

When you admit your limitless potential, you leave yourself open for disappointment and heartbreak. You submit yourself to the laws and realities of the Universe—which means acknowledging your health, your surroundings, other’s behavior, and other important factors to the actualization of your dreams, are out of our hands.

This change. Dreams change. Life is unfolding. There are no guarantees.

Additionally, choosing to believe in our limitless potential means we are willing to put in the work to make the life we imagine for ourselves become a reality. It means we abandon the damaging ideas about success being reserved for a select few, or resources being limited or the idea of a “big break” coming our way.

We begin to embrace our own power and potential to shift and shape our circumstances.

That’s a hard, humbling pill to swallow. But admitting you play a role in your circumstances is the only way to embrace the power you have to change them.

Embrace the Power of Your Own Intuition

Advice is good. Those who have gone before us certainly have insight to offer us that we couldn’t have on our own.

The advice of experts can help direct us to become our best selves.

But too many smart, creative people lean on the intuition of others when their own intuition is pointing them down a unique or not-so-logical path.

Don’t ignore your own intuition just because you can’t make sense of it right away. Instead, grow in your ability to listen to yourself, to experiment and to learn from your own failures. Your intuition doesn’t always tell you the right answer, but it does always tell you something—and that something can be a gift to you, if you’re willing to see it that way.

Don’t ignore the gift of your intuition.

Embrace the Uniqueness of Yourself

One of the most damaging things we do as creatives is look to our right and look to our left, comparing ourselves, our lives and our projects to the people around us.

Not only will this take us off track, it will limit us—limit our potential.

It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

There’s a quote I love from Martha Graham that sums this up perfectly. She says, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.”

She goes on to to say, “It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

Finally, she says, “You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction, whatsoever, at any time. There is only.. a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Join me in a commitment to quit limiting myself, playing small, comparing myself to other people or downplaying my gifts to appear more humble.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to underestimate myself anymore.