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Yesterday, Bridget Engel, a participant in my Bring Your Book to Life® Program, shared a particularly brilliant and helpful insight for writer’s block, or any instance where you are questioning your ability to write a book.
Bridget had been feeling challenged that day and coached herself to an answer from her inner guidance, in her case, her angels, similar to the work I teach people to connect with your “muse.”
Her inner voice simply offered this:
“Act as if no one has ever written about this topic before and you know what to say.”
I thought it was great advice and decided to open tonight’s Bring Your Book to Life® teleseminar with this idea. And the more I thought about it, the more rich and profound it seemed.
Act as if no one has ever written about this topic: Imagine the kind of passion you feel as you contemplate sharing something completely new and fresh, and how it feels to have the freedom not to worry about what others have said about the topic. So often we begin to critique, edit and censor ourselves even before we type in the words or write them out on paper. Or perhaps we cross out the words as we write them, thinking, “No, that’s trite. It’s been said.”
That kind of thinking stops the flow. It puts you in your left brain and shuts down the more creative right brain that’s essential for creative flow. If you leave that editing task for later and just allow ideas to flow, you’ll have a much easier time writing.
Let’s look at the second part of her advice:
You know what to say: When you imagine–or even tell yourself–you know what to say or write, you can experience confidence. Often, we make a negative projection that immediately affects our experience. Something like, “Who am I to act like an expert?” or “I don’t know how to make this sound fresh,” or “No one’s going to be interested in this.” How’s your muse, or creativity, going to respond to that kind of self-talk?
However, this positive projection, “You know what to say” impacts your experience and sends a supportive message to the writer within!
When you let go of your inner critic and affirm positive messages, you support your creativity, rather than shut it down. But what if you don’t quite believe the positive affirmation? That’s where Bridget’s wording is especially helpful: “Act as if.” Another way to put it is “Imagine.” Just imagine what it’s like to know what to say. Pretend. Imagining and pretending immediately engage that creative aspect of your personality that creates a state of flow.
You can even try a phrase like this: “What might it feel like to know what to write? What might it feel like to write in the flow?” This is something I learned from Julia Griffin. Rather than say an affirmation you don’t believe, use your curiosity and ask, “What if…” or “What would it feel like?”
When you imagine, you make space in your writing practice for surprises, too. Your not striving or trying, you’re more playful, spontaneous and open. Try it and share how it works for you. Or feel free to comment with a tip you received from your inner guidance or a fellow writer.