September 1

When writing feels so hard


Since I hang around with so many authors, I often see posts and status updates that read something like this:

“I just finished a chapter in my book, and I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I’m wiped for the weekend!”

“I’ve been staring at this blinking cursor for blinking forever. Does writing ever get easier?!”

“I hate writing. I love having written. #Writesohard”

All of these boil down to the same sentiment: “Why is it that writing feels so hard for me?”

Can I be totally honest with you? Some people find writing hard. Some people find writing easy. And, as a coach and editor, I can tell you that it’s absolutely not a difference of talent.

Some of those “hard writers” are extremely gifted with words, but some aren’t. Some of those “easy writers” spill out powerful language quickly, while others just write quickly and badly. But, hey, they still write and publish—that’s gotta count for something!

What I’m driving at here is that you should assume that all “good” writing should be “hard.”

The quality of writing is separate from how the writer experiences the writing.

So, don’t assume that in order to be a “good” writer, you must suffer through writing feeling “hard.”

The question you should be asking yourself is, “Why is it that writing feels so hard for me?”

I’ll tell you what does correlate with “hard” writing—fear of judgement.

The more you fear others’ judgement, the more frequently and severely you will experience “hard” writing.

When you fear a mentor’s sneering comments, hastily scrawled in the margins of your draft, writing one chapter will feel like amputating a leg.

When you imagine your parents burying their head in shame while reading your book, you will stare at a blank screen until you have a migraine.

When you picture your peers laughing at your simple concepts and plain-spoken language, stringing together even a few sentences will take you hours.

When you envision dozens of one-star reviews, you will (understandably) procrastinate writing at every chance you get.

Writing feels hard for you because you deeply fear others judging you.

The good news is that this is a completely normal reaction!

We are social animals, and we our survival literally hangs on social approval. So, of course, when you start to vividly imagine others laughing at you because of something you’ve written, then, no freaking wonder that writing feels so hard—even nearly impossible!

Any sane, normal person would have this reaction. So, there’s nothing wrong with you, at all.

But, since you’re also an evolved, rational, thinking animal, you can also be proactive in releasing fear of judgement.

How do you release the fear of judgment to embrace writing easily?

I recommend two basic practices that might very well change your writing life forever.

1. Tapping

Your fear of judgment is not something you can merely push away. You can’t tell yourself, “Just don’t be afraid!” The fear is sunk deep into your subconscious and bubbles up in the most surprising ways.

Tapping is one method of pulling up those subconscious fears of judgment and putting your mind at rest.

First, find a phrase or a few phrases that capture the fear you feel around writing. Start each phrase with, “Even though…” You’ll see why in just a bit. Here are some examples, and some may resonate with you more than others:

“Even though writing is so hard for me…”

“Even though I’m a terrible writer….”

“Even though I’m a slow writer….”

“Even though my mother hates what I write about…”

“Even though my writing is completely insignificant…”

“Even though people will probably hate my writing…”

Try to zero in on the most anxiety-inducing phrase. This is counter-intuitive (why would I want to focus on that?), but it’s important to acknowledge the fear in the most powerful language you can.

Then, you’ll begin a pattern of using your hands to tap on a series of pressure points on your hands, head, and chest. When pressure is applied to these points, your body naturally begins to relax. I’ll show a video of how and where you actually do the tapping.

While you’re tapping on these pressure points, you’ll use those phrases and end each one with “I love and accept myself.” So your phrases would now become:

“Even though writing is so hard for me, I love and accept myself.”

“Even though I’m a terrible writer, I love and accept myself.”

“Even though I’m a slow writer, I love and accept myself”

“Even though my mother hates what I write about, I love and accept myself.”

“Even though my writing is completely insignificant, I love and accept myself.”

“Even though people will probably hate my writing, I love and accept myself.”

So, when this all comes together, you are acknowledging your deepest fears (which cause that intense anxiety), you’re physically calming your body while naming those fears, and you’re re-affirming your own self-worth. It can ease your subconscious into releasing that anxiety.

And you’ll finally be able to write without it feeling so hard.

Here’s a video that shows exactly how to do this tapping technique:

2. Visualizing success

The other practice is to intentionally visualize success. We so quickly visualize failure and judgment, so it does take some effort to reorient our mind toward imagining success.

Here’s a simple method of visualizing success.

First, close your eyes and breathe deeply to a slow count of 10. Slow your thoughts and relax your body.

Second, imagine the reader whose life you most want to change. Bring to mind a person who is confused, hurting, or suffering. Your book could be the exact message that person needs to read in order to find clarity, begin healing, or feel lighter again.

Bring that person very close to you, in your mind. Is it a male or female? Old or young? What does your reader’s face look like when reading your book and finally finding this clarity, healing, or lightness? What is your reader feeling? How has your reader’s life changed?

Soak up just how powerful your book’s message could be to that one person. Get closer to the reader. Make those details more vivid, brighter, bolder. Let it feel so real. And take notice of your own reaction. How are you feeling? Excited? Alive? Emboldened?

That’s the emotion you want to soak into every pore of your being.

That’s the feeling that will make the writing feel easy.

If you make a habit of tapping out your fears and visualizing your success daily, I promise you will no longer ask, “Why is it that writing feels so hard?” because writing will now feel like a joy, a mission, a purpose that has a momentum and an energy, all it’s own.

So, pause right now, and try either tapping or visualizing success. How does it feel? Leave a comment below, and let me know!


You may also like

Which "Publishing Path" is right for your book?

There are FOUR different publishing paths for the modern author. Ready to discover which one's right for YOUR book?