This is a post by a new contributor to the QuoteRobot Blog, Shannon Fisher. Shannon is a terrific blogger, writer, and content strategist from Vancouver, BC.
"Writer's block is an excuse. I believe in fear and being burnt out. Writer's block is what we call those things when we don't want to admit to them." This was Lisa Barone's answer in her interview with Copyblogger when asked if she believes in writer's block.
Well shucks. She's right. What I've been blaming on writer's block is actually fear. Fear that none of my ideas are worth sharing. Fear that I'll never be as good as X or Y. Fear that I shouldn't be writing at all. Fear that the best tweets will Twitter while I'm... not writing.
These fears have stifled my personal writing. And in business I'm nose-deep in impostor syndrome as a newbie to my industry. What right do I have to say... anything? Who's going to listen to me?
Poppycock! I didn't start a business to hide in the corner. And I don't have a blog so I can have something to stare at.
Here are five ways to deal with fear, quiet that lizard brain, and get writing.
###1. Move your body
Among other benefits, exercise can make you a smarter writer. For real! According to Harvard Medical School professor John Ratey in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, "Moving our muscles produces proteins that travel through the bloodstream and into the brain, where they play pivotal roles in the mechanisms of our highest thought processes."
Exercise also increases serotonin production and release. When I'm in a good mood I fall in love with the world. Love gives me energy that compels me to create.
###2. Recycle conversations
What topics dominate your coffee dates, lunchtime banter and pillow talk? If you won't shut up about it, that means you have opinions, questions and knowledge to share. It means you're interested in a topic. We come alive when we talk about what interests us. You'll feel less stuck and you'll have fun because you're passionate.
Leverage that passion to connect with your audience authentically and enthusiastically.
###3. Tell us your story
Are you a master knitter? Do you can the best pickles on the block? Are marathons or short-distance runs your thing? Did you quit a stable career to start your own business? Did one of your side projects blow up and start your business for you?
You arrived where you are somehow. What's your story?
###4. Skill share
Don't look at me like that. You know stuff! The problem is, you don't believe it's valuable stuff — it is. Or, you think everyone already knows your stuff — they don't.
Make a mental list of the things you'd like to learn. Now think about people you know who already know these things. They likely don't see themselves as experts or think it's a big deal to know what they know. But you do! You'd love to have their skills and insight. Well guess what, friend: you know stuff they don't.
Make a list of what you know. What are the questions people ask about what you do? What questions do clients or customers ask about your products and services? Answer these questions!
Why do you love what you love? Who or what inspires you? What resources do you recommend? What mistakes have you made we could avoid? What mistakes are inevitable? Knowing you made them too could alleviate shame.
It doesn't matter if there are a million websites, YouTube videos or books about your thing. They're not told by you in your particular way. We're waiting for you!
###5. Give yourself permission to suck
In her brilliant TEDTalk: Your Elusive Creative Genius, Elizabeth Gilbert says "[...] we've completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish."
Not everything you write is going to be genius. One of my recent posts went viral and I've hardly written since. I stare at my empty page and think, "What if I can't do that again?" How paralyzing. I don't have to do that again! I can write because I love it. Because I want to. Because it will grow my business. Because I have knowledge and heart to share, even on the days I don't believe I do.
Gilbert says our job is to show up. Show up and write. Give it everything you have and, if it sucks, oh well. "Olé to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up."
Fear isn't going anywhere. Don't let it be the author of your life — your book will be blank! Practice courage and do something in spite of your fear.
What will your something be?