Why I Stopped Writing for Two Years (and how I got my Flow back)

 

 


There I was.
Minding my own business.
Writing about the things that pleased and inspired me.

Every other Sunday, I would sit on my plush white sofa, fresh pot of coffee brewing and I’d open up my Macbook air and just write.

I’d write about lessons that came from my own life that I could expand on to bring meaning to others.

I’d write about themes that came up with my clients, that I just knew could benefit others.

I’d write about concepts I was reading about in positive psychology, or ideas that I had recently learned in my coach training (like how our inner critics can totally sabotage us and how to outsmart these permanent mental house guests).

I love connecting the dots between principles I’m reading about and real life lessons (“Connectedness” is one of my top 5 strengths according to the Strength Finders quiz!).
And so, in my naive world, I was a ‘real’ blogger.

I had a rhythm.
The words would pour effortlessly out of me.

As a Coach, I was eager to end each blog with an easy action step to move the reader from passive participant to an active player in creating a life of feeling more confident and in flow with their desires.

I frequently heard back from my readers, letting me know that what I wrote about really resonated with them. Although that wasn’t my purpose for writing, it felt good to know that I was making a difference, that I was bringing a little bit of my joy and wisdom to different parts of the world.

So what was it then that brought this flow of writing to a halt?

 

I asked someone what she thought about my blogs.
And I lost my confidence.

She was a friend and ex-colleague of mine who I deeply respected.

She was smart.
Successful.

She was still working in the corporate environment; because most of my readers at the time were also in corporate, it made ‘sense’ to ask her for feedback.

And oh did I get it!

“They’re not bad. But I’m more of an HBR (Harvard Business Review) kind of reader.”

“What does that mean?”, I asked, truly confused and taken off guard.

“Well, it would be great if you linked your message to more important, strategic concepts.”

And there it was.

Her honest truth – which I had asked for…but was not prepared for.

I was shocked. I felt taken off guard.  Mostly, I was embarrassed.

And since I too am human and have my own gang of inner critics who are all too ready to jump in and broadcast their opinion, I headed straight to Doubtville.

“…more important…what does that mean?”, I thought to myself. “And more specifically, am I not writing important stuff?”

For the next few weeks, I couldn’t get her words out of my head.

I found myself looking up HBR articles online and thinking that there was no way I could or would want to write like that. It just wasn’t me. But that was clearly what people wanted to read, right? Or so one friend thought.

It was enough to put a stop to my bi-weekly Sunday writing rhythm.

For two years.

Ouch.

For two years I stifled my creativity and intuitive writing. My inner judge had taken control. I was frozen.

 

With this newly planted thought of ‘I’m not a good writer” as my filter, I created a whole series of events that kept my writing flow on hold and my incompetence in focus.

  • I hired a copywriter. I wanted some help with writing a sales page (it was my first time), but with my inner judge on hyper-alert, it only made things worse as I continued to find evidence of how I was not good enough.
  • I got ‘too’ educated. Every entrepreneur knows that there is an online course out there for everything business related. So I signed up for Copy Cure – a brilliant course on how to write compelling copy that connects and converts. But with the mindset I was in, it only brought into hyper focus the idea that I wasn’t adding value the way I was writing. It highlighted what I was ‘not’ doing, so instead of applying the techniques, it only added fuel to the ‘you suck’ fire.
  • I looked to the experts. I filled my inbox with industry expert newsletters on how to write the perfect email subject line, headline, sub headline, and all the lines in-between! I filled up my head with so much advice that I became too externally focused.

Bottom line: I stopped trusting myself.

I leaned too much into my intellect and not enough into my intuition and heart.  I started to do things ‘their’ way, so it felt uninspired.

My heart wanted to share everything I was learning, simply for the sake of sharing!  But my brain told me that it wasn’t important and meaningful enough for you, the reader.

So how did I find my flow again?

 

 

 

 

The truth is, I’m still finding my way back into my writing.

I’m still searching for the sweet spot between writing for myself and writing to bring value to the reader.

I can feel my confidence and flow coming back and I’m eagerly exploring this new creative space.

What I can share is that during this last year I have become really conscious about changing my focus.

You’ve heard the notion that what we focus on expands, right? So I committed myself to finding proof of how heart-centered writing is as impactful and important as logic-centered writing.

 

  • I watched JK Rowling’s movie “Magic Beyond Words: the JK Rowling Story“ and felt inspired when I learned that she never wrote for anyone else. She wrote for herself. And she’s doing quite well for herself!
  •  I read Doreen Virtue’s book “The Courage to Be Creative” and resonated with the research around how most creative people are also sensitive, which is great for receiving inspired ideas, but challenging because it makes them shy to reveal their ideas (that’s me!). I stopped feeling alone.
  • I soaked up the wisdom in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” about the habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. I happily received her encouragement to have the courage to bring forth the treasures hidden inside us – and once again heard the message to create (write) for the sake of creating – not for others.

 

 

In true Law of Attraction fashion, I started to look for and collect proof for successful writers who wrote from their heart and inspiration and left the opinions of others at the door.

I started to write from my heart and life again (like this blog) and felt the immediate satisfaction of letting my creativity out to play.

I adopted new thoughts and beliefs around what it is people want to hear about from me – and to be honest, came to the conclusion that I may lose interest to the HBR readers of the world – and that’s okay!

I can’t say that now I am 100% back into the seat of my writing.

I still have doubts.

I still wonder if I am touching people’s hearts.

I still feel nervous when I see the blank screen staring at me.

But I started.

And I LOVE that I’m tap tapping away on my keyboard again.

I love that I’m sharing the insights I receive on a daily basis, in a way that brings me joy.

I love that my words flow easily and effortlessly when I get out of my own way.

And I love that every day and in every way, I am getting better and better.

And so dear reader, if you have ever stopped writing or creating because of one person’s comment, join me.

Join me in saying ‘thanks, but I’m gonna do things my way!’ and get back to your art.

Let your art flow from the fingertips of your soul. Click To Tweet

Shift your focus back to the reason why you are writing and creating.

Because we need more heart-centered creation in the world.

And in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert: “The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”

Now you.

Hit reply and let me know: has your inner critic has also been hanging around, and do you feel inspired to start sharing your message your way.

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10 Comments on "Why I Stopped Writing for Two Years (and how I got my Flow back)"

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Janine
Guest

I love this, Seema. We all have such a personal relationship with writing and creativity, and our process needs that space and trust to unfold and evolve. Finding your voice is a journey with no real destination. And thank you for the new recommendations! I just put the J.K Rowling movie and Doreen Virtue book on hold at my local library. 😉 Can’t wait to check them out!

Seema
Guest

Love the idea that finding our voice is a journey Janine! Enjoy J.K Rowling’s movie and let me know what you think!

Priska
Guest

You are just a word-wizardress! And you know how much I love how you express yourself – spoken or written. And I would never ever read this HBR stuff – with all respect, but this bores the shit out of me. But isn’t it great that everyone gets excited by something different – and you are now serving people like… me:) And we only get served, when you are writing from your soul.

So thank you for calming down your inner critic and bring him to sweet sleep.

Seema
Guest

Thank you Priska!! From one wisardress to another, I’m eager to invite my soul tribe in! xx

Sarah Lang
Guest

Beautiful and moving! I, too, am inspired to write more and share via blogging. It feels like I am coming back to myself when I write. I resonate with your journey as I come face-to-face with my own inner critics and urgings for “perfect”/ “polish”…I love your reminder to go for JOY! Thanks for sharing!

Seema
Guest

Thanks for sharing your journey with me Sarah! Please do keep blogging as well from the place of JOY. What a gift to ‘come back to yourself’ as you say! I feel that too, so know that we’re in this together!

Liz
Guest
Thanks for this Seema. I can completely relate. I’m in this place right now of – to create or not to create. To create for me or to create for other people’s ideals. To be bold and carve my own path or follow a safer-looking path that others have already taken. (The little voice inside me knows the answer – duh). AND it takes courage, everyday, to show up and say ‘I’m gonna be DIFFERENT, and I’m gonna follow my own genius.’ So POWER TO ALL OF US, who are being brave and listening to our own voices, rather than… Read more »
Seema
Guest

Liz – thanks for sharing your bold and courageous desire to be DIFFERENT! We’re in this together and I support you 100% 🙂

Kirsten
Guest

Thank you Seema, for the reminder of what it looks like to be vulnerable and transparent. I can relate to allowing others’ thinking impact me in way that shuts me down. And the journey and courage required to come back from that. That’s the journey I am on now. My commitment: 2018 is the year I unleash my potential:)

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