As if writing isn’t tough enough, we sometimes sabotage ourselves by climbing into confining “boxes” of our own making. Cindy Kane, an accomplished writer and editor, gave some spirited advice for freeing ourselves in a lively talk aptly titled, “Write Your Way Out of the Box!” Here are eight self-limiting beliefs that Cindy suggests we send packing (please note, the commentary is mine, inspired by Cindy):
Box #1: “I can’t be a writer because I’m not as good as___. Fill in the blank: Truman Capote, JK Rowling, Philip Roth. Then toss the box overboard. Be your incomparable self!
Box #2: “I can’t be a ____ writer (science, romance, thriller)”. Why not? Anything is possible if you give yourself a chance. Cindy got a D+ in science at school, but wrote an awardwinning science-based book for kids and has another on the way.
Box #3: “I can’t be a writer because it will get in the way of my real career.” Plenty of writers, including Cindy, have demanding day jobs and author books on the side.
Box #4: “I can’t be a writer because I haven’t been published.” Here’s a quote I love from writer Stephanie Eliot: “A published author is an amateur who doesn’t quit!”
Box #5: “I can’t be a fiction writer because I’m a nonfiction writer.” Why? Plenty of writers mix it up and have fun doing it.
Box #6: “I can’t write what I want because I should write what I know.” Cindy quoted an awardwinning writer Richard Peck: “If you only write what you know, your work will be dull as dishwater. Write about what you want to know.”
Box #7: “I can’t be a serious writer because I don’t have time.” With her trusty mini-laptop, Cindy writes everywhere: on her way to work, waiting on lines, at the dentist. Hey, why not?
Box #8: “I can’t write what I want because I don’t want to write what’s selling.” There are plenty of original, passionate writers who’ve bucked “trends” and hit the bestseller list.
Thanks, Cindy! Write on.