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Why Little By Little Is The Fastest Way to Finish a Book

September 19th, 2020

 

 

“If you want to be a novelist, write. Everyday. Faithfully, serenely, and diligently. You have to want to write so badly that nothing, not jobs, not friends, not family, not TV or the movies will stop you. You want it so badly that you will not be deterred.”
~ John Dufresne

I’ve heard it said that resistance shows up when your closest finishing, but I actually find from experience that shows up all the time.  It’s the thought of sitting down to write that is often the hardest and less I just say just for today word by word I’ll just write one word or maybe two words or perhaps I’ll sit down in front of my computer just for an hour.

It sounds easy but it’s often not. Suddenly watching Netflix is more compelling or perhaps it’s a good time to phone a friend. Or perhaps I could just spare myself the pain and tell myself, “I don’t know what to write. I won’t even be able to finish. This book is not good. What am I thinking even starting such an ambitious project?”

Resistance often shows up when there is drama is around me and I convince myself that I have to sit down and peace and write. Gosh if only I had that luxury.

But if I am to make writing my career and not give in to the voices telling me to go looking for a job, sign onto the recruitment websites, go live with my mother, or some other dire remedy—I must show up and write.

If I feed fear and say ‘you’re never going to make it’ that just lowers my vibration and brings that intention into being.
So I just make a commitment to write small.

Like now I’m going to open my manuscript and my Scrivener file and just locate one chapter and see what I need to do to carry the story forward.

And then I open it up and my first thought is ‘gosh where do I start?’’ But I can just set the intention to start somewhere, anywhere, perhaps it’s somewhere I am interested in particularly. And, voila, the magic starts and I am in the story.

Right now I have gone to a scene about a character that I need to flesh out a little bit more detail on so that I can add some more texture to the scene. Little is good. Small steps mean I’m moving forward.

Before I know it I’m really into things and it’s hard to stop. This is what some people call flow. It’s like a meditation. You are just completely unconscious of all those fearful thoughts that ruminated in your mind and stopped you from turning up in the first place.

Nora Roberts once said, “A writer never finds the time to write. A Writer makes it. If you don’t have the drive, the discipline, and the desire, then you can have all the talent in the world, and you aren’t going to finish a book.”

You don’t have to know what you’re going to write. You just have to have the desire, the drive, and the discipline to show up and write word by word.

And now I’m feeling excited so if I can keep the momentum which I will, I already know what I want to write tomorrow.

That’s the gift of keeping on keeping on. I know that because I’m writing short. I’d like to write more description which I’ve just discovered in my research file and weave that into this one scene.

And it’s not that I had completely exhausted thinking about my more arresting financial problems. Or why my relationships always seem to have so much drama. Nor whether the orchids will flower.

Despite the doubt, it’s just that for now I’ve parked my worries and entered into the energy and excitement of the book.
Just knowing that finishing a book just takes a word followed by another word, followed by another word, can overcome the tremendous sense of overwhelm I and many of my students and other writers experience.

Writing can be a pressured, stressful, infuriating and thankless endeavour. We can load so much expectation on ourselves and take ourselves far too seriously. So here is another story I tell often.

A wonderful counsellor who I trained to be a Worklife Solutions Certified Life Coach recommended the book The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, by Bruce Lipton.

Lipton is an American developmental biologist best known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA can be manipulated by a person’s beliefs.

In his book, he shares how he experienced a paradigm shift while at a conference. Back then, Lipton, like so many of us, didn’t fully realise the crucial role the subconscious mind plays in the change process.

“Instead, I relied mostly on trying to power through negative behaviour, using positive thinking and willpower. I knew, though, that I had had only limited success in making personal changes in my own life.

“I also knew that when I offered this solution, the energy in the room dropped like a lead balloon. It seems my sophisticated audiences had already tried willpower and positive thinking with limited success.”

Fate intervened for Lipton, as it did for me when I was guided to his book. So often life whispers to us, but we fail to tune in. In Lipton’s case, the messenger he needed to hear was sitting right next to him; psychotherapist Rob Williams, the creator of the self-help tool PSYCH-K, was presenting at the same conference.
“Rob’s opening remarks quickly had the entire audience on the edge of our seats. In his introduction, Rob stated that PSYCH-K can change long-standing, limiting beliefs in a matter of minutes,” Lipton wrote.
In his book The Biology of Belief, Lipton shares how, in less than 10 minutes, a woman paralysed by her fear of public speaking transformed into a confident, excited, and visibly relaxed person up on the stage. The transformation Lipton witnessed was so astounding, he has since used PYSCH-K in his own life.
“PSYCH-K has helped me undo my self-limiting beliefs, including one about not being able to finish my book,” Lipton wrote at the end of his book.

That struck a chord with me. I felt a thrill of excitement. Not a thrill, but a trill—a song deep in my heart. Lipton was like the Pied Piper and I was happy to follow. At the time, I had so many unfinished books and had published nothing.

A month after working with a PSYCH-K trained practitioner, I finished the first two books in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series. Soon after, I released my third, Midlife Career Rescue: Employ Yourself, followed quickly by a fourth book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose.

At the time of writing, I have since also published eleven romance books under my pen name, Mollie Mathews.
Now, you’re reading my thirtieth book—all completed within the last three years. All because, despite feeling sceptical (and a little vulnerable), I sought help to reprogram my mindset.

If traumatic memories or unhelpful beliefs are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, seeking help from a qualified practitioner with expertise in reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.

You may not need to see a therapist to move beyond self-limiting beliefs; but if you do, go and get help. There’s magic in that.
You can also learn from some of the most powerful, effective, and simple techniques used by practitioners working in the realm of positive psychology and mind reprogramming. This includes hypnosis—something you’ll discover later in this book.

This is not a bad line to have taped your writing desk:
“The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.”

Talk to yourself in the kindest possible way. “Darling, you can do this. All we have to do is make a little bit of progress. It will be so much fun. Let’s write a description of a young art curator at a fancy museum who’s just discovered her biological father is the world’s most notorious art thief. Are you okay with that? We’re going to find something that will help us write that.

“That’s all we’re going to do for this present moment. We are just going to take this little by little, word by word. But we are going to finish this one short task.”

 

 

This has been an edited excerpt of Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life

 COMING SOON

 

FREE GUIDED MEDITATION

 

Is writer’s block, procrastination or self-doubt holding you back? The cure may be as simple as shifting unhelpful beliefs. So often, we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are.
If your unhelpful thoughts are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.
Harness the power of your superconscious with this guided hypnosis meditation. Create the optimum state of mind for your writing or creative projects.
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