The Lesson I Needed

As one can easily discern from the multitude of posts I’ve made in the last 10 months, I’ve struggled a great deal to regain the pace I was writing at last year. Not even the pace, the simple practice of writing each day. Between the decision to stop so that I could focus on the impending vacation of Disney with my family and friends to the sudden family upheaval that took place nary days after our return as I was preparing to volley for a new position within the company I am employed (one I eventually achieved), my writing has been at a virtual standstill as I’ve allowed my ability to use writing as a form of therapy to flounder.

I’ve had to face that I’ve simply not even tried.

“You will fail because you have guaranteed failure because you’re not even trying.” – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I listen to podcasts frequently. I have a small list of shows that I listen to. Some I must put the earbuds in for every episode; some I listen to for a mix of entertainment and background noise, and some shows I cherry-pick the episodes depending on the topic or the guests.

Of those shows that I listen to every episode is “The Knowledge Project” with Shane Parrish. Much like Tim Ferris, Shane is interested in the inner workings of the minds of successful people. In one of the latest episodes, Shane interviewed Hugh Howey, a writer that I’ve admired since my early days of trying out this whole self-publishing endeavor– having decided to take this writing thing a little more seriously than a hobby. Hugh talked a lot about a lot of different things (some of which I may or may not dissect later), but it was his discussion on writing and publishing that kicked me the hardest.

First, it was a story he told, one on a conference that he attended where a writer laid out the key to writing: stop making excuses. According to Hugh, the writer in question passionately answered a question as to how to write a novel where she said to stop talking about it, stop making excuses, stop hoping, stop dreaming, and just sit down and write. It was the tertiary lecture that Hugh needed to kick-start his own career. And I needed to hear it… again.

Sure, I know that piece of advice well; I often site it to myself. But since October last year, I’ve not listened to a damn bit of it. I’ve ignored it. Hearing it said again from someone I look up to was a nice reminder to get out of my own way on this and let the writing just be what is done.

Next, there was an admission that Hugh made in the discussion that struck me as it usually does. He admitted to dealing continuously with imposter syndrome. Hugh does– a guy who I regularly believe has his shit together more than most I’ve met (and certainly more than I do) deals with the self-doubt and defeatism that encompasses the belief that others will eventually find out that he’s a sham.

I cannot imagine what that feels like… yeah, right.

No matter how many times I hear it, when I find an artist that I admire who has the same insecurities that I do, whether or not they deal well with it, it is a surprise. It reminds me that I am not alone; it reminds me to shut up and write.

That’s what I have to do: I have to shut up and write. I should stop returning to this thing: bemoaning about how difficult it is, how constipated I am with words, and all these things I need to do to get to writing. I need to sit down and write.

So that is what I am going to do.

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