I used to think I was a crappy writer. I told myself all sorts of made up stories about why I was terrible like the fact that I wasn’t good enough or that I could never be a proper writer. I believed that no-one would ever read my writing anyway so why bother and that I wasn’t talented at all.
The thing is, I wasn’t practicing the art of writing.
It reminded me of when I was a teenager practicing for my Grade 8 piano exam. I’d spend hours each week sitting at the piano playing scales, my heart thumping and my fingers flying. I had a system for it all. I’d play with one hand and if I made a mistake I’d go back to the beginning and start over. On and on it went, my hands soaring across the keys as I cemented the music into my memory. I knew that it was only through practice that I’d be great.
When I compared this to the attitude I had about writing it was completely different. The only person holding me back from writing was me. All these silly stories were preventing me from being a writer, picking up my pen, and actually writing!
Something changed in me that day. I started writing every time I could; I made sure there was at least one day a week where I could just write. If I couldn’t manage that, I’d write on the train, squeezed in between passengers with a notebook and pen. Occasionally I wrote at the beach, or by the river, in the country, or on the bus. I simply wrote.
In 2011 I travelled to Thailand and started a blog. I called it Little Bartlett Walks the Earth and in my first ever post I wrote this:
“An important note to consider when reading this here blog. I would never claim to be a “blogger”. In fact, I have never written a blog in my life and have often wondered how it is one becomes a “professional blogger”. Anyway, this is beside the point. I do have a desire to keep my family and friends in the loop about my happenings in Southeast Asia and if this fits the description of a blog, then so be it. I am indeed a blogger.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but in taking this first step and calling myself “a blogger” I was on the way towards becoming that very thing. All I had to do was find it within me to be that person.
I took Julia Cameron’s advice and created some positive affirmations about writing that would move me towards my vision. Instead of telling myself I was a lousy writer, I began telling myself that I was a prolific and brilliant writer. Silly as it may seem, it was through this constant repetition and practice that it began to take on a reality and evidence began popping up all over the place telling me that I wasn’t so bad after all.
I truly believe today that if there is something you deeply care about and want to do you can do it.
If you practice you can become extraordinary and if you challenge your mindset you can do whatever you set your mind to.
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