Release an old writing decision.
I recently said goodbye to an old raincoat. I'd had it for more than 15 years: I’d brought it with me on a writing retreat in Spain, teaching in Banff, and to the Victoria Writer’s Festival. Very pleasing memories. It even used to keep me dry.
It was so old, it stopped repelling water two years ago. But I kept wearing it. Why? Because it was “my raincoat.” It fit me, I knew it travelled well, it had a place in my closet. I don’t know. It wasn’t rational! Maybe I just remembered the way it used to keep me dry?
Last month, I finally had the courage to replace it with a new one. And go figure: the new one is way better. It has more features! It’s lightweight! The pockets are deeper! The lining is removable! The H2NO fabric makes water bead off and roll away!
Had I known that I’d love my new raincoat so much, I would have replaced my old one long before now.
Think about a limiting belief you have about yourself as a writer, or a limiting decision you’ve made about your work.
It may have served you well at some point — otherwise, you wouldn’t have kept it for so long!
But now, you know it’s not working for you. Either you’ve outgrown it, or it’s stopped functioning properly.
Here are a few examples of beliefs and decisions writers can outgrow:
I’m a beginning writer.
I write fiction.
I’m working on a book.
I am an academic writer.
Writing is hard for me, but I can do hard things.
I’m not a reader, but I love writing.
I’m not good at writing dialogue.
I don’t have the skills to write a novel.
Sometimes our beliefs can motivate us and even make our writing life possible. But if we don’t update them, they can also hold us back.
For instance, if you believe “I'm a novelist,” this can actually help you write your first novel! It keeps you working towards your finished draft, and publication.
But holding tightly to this belief can also hold you back, if you want to write poetry or creative nonfiction.
What have you decided about your writing? What did you believe about your writing once, that might not be true anymore?
Can you trust that it will be safe and okay for you to let it go?
Can you trust that when you release it, there will be something even better waiting for you?
Without that old belief, who would you be?
If you changed and updated that old decision, what would you write?
Photo credit (top): Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash.