This week I agreed to work with Jayson, a new private client who has decided to commit to writing personal projects. Jayson’s a successful non-fiction writer and blogger, but he writes as part of his job and felt unfulfilled as a creative artist.
I asked Jayson what he wanted to write; he had several ideas, all good. I suggested that we explore and prioritize them and then schedule them one at a time into his already jam-packed life.
Jayson smiled and gave a big sigh of relief.
“You mean it’s not my fault for ignoring my muse?”
“Your muse isn’t paying your bills.”
He laughed. “Could you be more blunt?”
I smiled and said, “Yes, because that’s only half of it. The other part is that you fear rejection and humiliation, as we all do. What you write now is factual and comes from your expertise. Learning anything new takes time, and we crawl before we walk; making mistakes is inevitable.”
“But think of it as a challenge. It’s not like you’d be going into a gunfight with a pair of scissors. You have years of practice of writing well, and it’s just applying what you already do well to imaginary material .”
“What would I have to do to get started? I guess I should make some room in my schedule.”
“No, that will be a waste of even more time. Much better to make a list of all your ideas and then write a paragraph or two explaining them to me, but on paper.”
He looked unsure.
I laughed. “Yes, that’s the first and most risky part. Writing things down and making a list makes it real and brings a sense of obligation. And I might laugh at you!”
He looked pale.
“Just joking,” I attempted a reassuring smile.
He nodded. “Got it.”
“Good. I’ve made my point about fear of rejection, so now don’t worry about it. And as far as any obligation goes to write something new, the goal here is the list, nothing more. From there, we can decide what you’d like to work on first and when you can create the time to do it.”
We agreed and set a time for our first class. I will keep you posted on his progress.
The point of my sharing this conversation with you is to encourage you, fellow writer, to change your approach to your work. By making a list of all the things you’d like to write, you take dreams and turn them into goals. A goal is a dream with a deadline, however theoretical. By naming the projects and then seeing when you could devote the time necessary to complete them, you instantly will transform from an amateur into a professional in a single thought!
Word of the Day Webinar
In the last webinar, we had fun using the Word of the Day technique to create a five-minute scene. In fact, it was so much fun that we’ll do it again. Join us and try this special five-minute challenge on August 9!
Here’s to your writing success,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz