You have an assignment. Maybe it is the paying gig for which you have been praying. You sit down to write and … nothing. Time is ticking away. Still… nothing.

So what is stopping you? Very likely, you are getting in your own way and need some push to pick up the pen or boot up your word processor. Neil Gaiman advises to just sit down and type. Stephan King says to read and write a lot. Easy enough, right?

Maybe a teacher or even a friend has said something like  just do it—that it is that simple—but you still haven’t yet. You secretly curse them for their insensitivity to your plight. You sense impending failure. It is darn frustrating and makes you feel bad. No more, I say! The obstacles are just illusions. It’s time to leap over them, and here is how:

  1. Illusion One: Self-doubt.

Maybe an idea strikes you while you are sipping coffee, on a run, in the shower, or the quiet of your home. It truly excites you. You are encouraged and feel you have your creativity back, but then your doubt goblins crash the party.

What’s the point? They say sinisterly.

I bet ya someone already wrote it!

 Whose gonna read it anyway, pal?

It’ll take forever to publish anything; why bother? Isn’t your favorite show back on? Reeelax!

Self-doubt is the worst! Its subtle power to wear you down is the ultimate buzzkill. You have to realize that if you don’t value your work, then no one else will. It starts there with you, deciding enough is enough, I am good enough, and I will get even better.

So say it with me now: I am going to write, and not even myself will stop me. 

  1. Illusion Two: There is not enough time.

Oh, there is. Maybe it doesn’t seem like it, but I promise you there is. We can all get very busy with life. Depending on how much you currently want to write, you need to have reasonable goals. Are you currently writing once every full moon? Well, how about once a week instead? Daily writing sessions may not be possible. The hardest part is getting started, so schedule the time, set a writing date with yourself, and go for the sole purpose of treating that inner writer of yours with care and attention. Lastly, set a word count: 300 Words minimum. That’s it, but don’t feel the need to stop there. You’ll be surprised how much more you will end up churning out!

Do I hear excuses? I work four jobs. I have nine children. I need to keep up with my shows. I follow four religions.

If you want to write, find the time to do it. Small amounts count.

  1. Illusion Three: Lost Inspiration

It happens to the best of us. But why? Maybe youfeel stuck in a rut of monotony, or deep dissatisfaction has festered from within, causing you to feel you don’t have it anymore—that beautiful, creative spark—where has your ingenuity gone?

Well, it never left. Inspiration can’t always appear as a burning bush. Sometimes it is as subtle as a whisper of wind on a spring day.

There will be times where a writer must reach outward or inward for inspiration—connecting to who you are and what matters most, or something that causes you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new ideas and people outside your head. For instance, you could look to find a unique setting, maybe a local library, or cozy coffee shop—or maybe a park bench—whatever place allows for the ambiance you need to facilitate ideas. Sometimes the best places to immerse yourself in are books themselves—but make sure you note why the book excites you and try to draw inspiration from it. Look for the themes that speak to your inner self, and begin imagining what kind of story you could write with that same theme. Your loss of inspiration may be a longing for connection, so urge yourself to step out of the norm. Try to find a writers’ group to feel a sense of community.But make sure it is friendly and not competitive. It would be best if you had support, not anxiety.

If you can’t find a group, start your own! I did—and we’re going six years strong. You can overcome this drought of creativity by nourishing it. COVID put a damper on it for a while, but zoom helped and we plan to resume when we can.

I will leave you with this prompt from my writer’s group:

Questions are an extremely effective way to engage writing: What if there was a parallel universe where you met another you who had every opposite trait? The other you asks for your help, “how can I find purpose and inspiration?” What would you tell them? You can connect with me further at www.jtaediting.com or join me at www.writersnetworking.com, a social network for writers looking to connect

Joshua Adams
Joshua Adams

Joshua T. Adams is a passionate writer, editor, and therapist (MSW, LSW) at Holistic Wellness Solutions
in Columbus, Ohio.