For the last few days, I’ve been in a funk. Like a seriously funky funk. And if I’m to be perfectly honest, it has everything to do with this blog. I’ve been thinking about taking it in a new direction and it’s been stressing me out. Over the course of a few days, I went from confident, happy, cup-half-full blogger to petrified, cranky, cup-half-empty nay-sayer with writer’s block.
So, imagine my reaction earlier today when I came across an email from Melyssa Griffin that opened with these three questions:
- Have you ever felt like your negative emotions are ruining your life?
- That anxiety is holding you back from your true potential?
- Or are you scared to take action because you fear failure?
Heck, yes, heck, yes, and heck, yes.
And how the heck did Melyssa Griffin know about my writer’s block?
For the most part, I’m a believer that there are no coincidences in life, so I took Melyssa’s email on board and did what she was calling me to do. I listened to her podcast, “Why fear, anxiety, and negativity are necessary for a positive life.” In this episode, she interviews Mark Manson. Mark is the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. While Melissa had me hooked at the opening question, I was all the more keen to follow-through as I happen to have read his book and believe him to be a giver of pretty sound advice.
While the entire podcast was a worthwhile listen, my most valuable take-away came from the dialogue that followed this comment:
It’s easier to be an artist that no one’s heard of versus an artist that nobody likes.
As Mark explains, if you’re walking around with a great business idea in your head, you’re tapped into the potential of something exciting in the future, and that feels good — all the time. The minute you start to execute it, however, it’s no longer in your head. You’re no longer in control, and you’re no longer the only critic. You may succeed. You may fail.
What are you longing to do but afraid to try, just in case you fail?
Running a marathon, speaking in public, starting a book club, opening a bakery — trying anything you’ve never done before is scary stuff. And being scared leaves you vulnerable, whatever the fear.
Right now, I’m scared. For years I’ve ‘joked’ that there’s nothing I’m particularly passionate about. In the last few months, however, I’ve discovered a true passion for writing. Not the kind of writing my clients have been paying me to write for the past 20 years, but the kind of writing that comes straight from my heart (versus a creative brief). The kind of writing that earns me zero dollars in compensation, thereby qualifying me to be a legitimate creative writer. I love it and I want it. Wanting it feels good. Going for it feels scary and that’s where I am today.
How long will this writer’s block last?
Who knows, but truth be told, I’m feeling pretty encouraged right now. You see, in this podcast Mark referenced a novelist’s strategy for overcoming writer’s block. He believed that if he forced himself to write just 200 crappy words a day, he’d be inspired and end up doing way better. I thought I’d give it ago. That’s what prompted me to sit down and write this post, without self-judgement. And here I am, 556 not-so-crappy words later.