We all have self-limiting habits.
We develop these over years to the point where we don’t even realize we have them.
When we write, we have habits we fall back on, in the same way we do anything else. Sometimes we call this set of habits our comfort zone, and sometimes we can’t even see there’s anything else in the world for us.
The overall habits that limit us have to do with how we handle the three major components of successful writing.
- Writing — this includes editing
- Publishing — this means anywhere that is not your journal
- Promoting — the activity that makes more difference than any other in gaining respect for your writing
Demolishing the worst limiting habit about Writing
Our lives are filled with time-consuming activities. We need to eat, sleep, clean the kitchen and many other things that aren’t writing.
If you want to be a writer you must write. And you must write in a way that honors your decision to be a writer. You can’t put writing in the last spot on your To-Do list.
If you only write during the empty spaces of your daily life you are not honoring the creative effort it takes to write.
You are in fact succumbing to the resistance of creation. This is a limiting habit you must demolish. Here’s how you do it.
You make a to do list with 10 items on it. Next to numbers 1–5 you write the word writing. Everything else in your day has to fit in spots 6–10.
This changes the degree of importance you assign writing in your life. Now writing is 5 times as important as any other item on your to do list.
If you assign writing the same importance as every other list item, writing becomes no more urgent than buying milk.
You don’t need to spend an hour each time you write. But 5 times a day, you’re going to write something. Within a few days you’re going to have an entirely new writing habit.
Demolishing the worst limiting habit about Publishing
Unless you are doing all your writing in a private journal, you need to publish.
The word publish keeps more writers from enjoying the respect they deserve than anything else.
Publishing simply means sharing your work with more than one person.
Every writer has anxiety when it comes time for the reveal of their work. Allowing that anxiety to dictate your life is a limiting habit. Here’s how you demolish this habit.
You’re going to publish your writing digitally. And you’re going to love how simple this process is.
If you’ve got a book, you can publish it to the world’s largest bookstore with a few clicks of your mouse. If you prefer writing shorter pieces, Medium, Quora, or even a WordPress blog will allow you the same freedom to give your words wings.
You are probably going to be a bit anxious each time you publish something new, but after you do it a few times you’re going to love publishing your work.
Demolishing the worst limiting habit about Promoting
The old saying, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” is probably true. But you can sell a lot more mousetraps if you tell people you have them for sale and if you tell them where you live.
That is the essence of promotion, telling potential readers that you have written something for them to enjoy.
Nowadays, writers are responsible for promoting their own work. Agents and virtual assistants can help but the bulk of the promotion work falls squarely on the shoulders of the writer.
The simplest way to command the writing respect you deserve is to tell people you have written something and tell them where they can read it.
Here’s how you demolish the limiting habit of being squeamish about showing your work: use the internet.
- Join 5 Facebook writer groups. Don’t join more than that because you’ll be there all day. (instead of writing)
- Join Quora and answer questions about writing. Use your Quora profile page to display links to your published works.
- Join Medium and respond to articles written by writers. Write articles about your own writing process and at the end of them, add links to your written work.
- Add the word “writer” to your Medium profile.
You don’t need to tell everyone that you’re the world’s best writer, just tell them you’re a writer and ask them if they’d like to read something you’ve written.
Whether they read or not does not make as much of a difference as you defining yourself as a writer.
You’re a writer. You deserve respect. Demolishing the limiting habits of thought and action will change your life. The best way to demolish these restrictive habits is to simply get started.