3 reasons for a lack of conviction… and how to finish that book!

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You know, I don’t know why I bother to say my intentions out loud. I may as well be shouting into the wind — because that’s how ineffectual my convictions are lately.

Whether it’s cutting out the bread and cake, slowing down on the wine intake, getting an early night, exercising, cleaning, gardening, writing… whatever — I just can’t seem to follow through.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Perhaps if I kept my plans to myself, it wouldn’t be quite as bad. Then it would only be me who knew just how crap I was being (and luckily for me, I’m a very understanding person).

But it seems I cannot help myself from shouting them from the rooftops.

I think I’ll take it easy on the wine tonight.

[3.5 bottles later…]

I’m definitely going to do some writing tonight, no excuses!

[ooooh… something good on TV…]

I’m getting up early to do a yoga session in the morning.

 [groan… it’s too cold…]

I’m not going to waste time on Facebook this evening.

 [can’t… stop… scrolling…]

Blah blah BLAH-DE-BLAH! It’s ridiculous. I’m beginning to sound like a fortune teller with a dodgy crystal ball. Or at the very least, the boy who’s about to be eaten by the wolf…

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So why can’t I just do what I say I’m going to?

Why can’t I keep my mouth closed and just do it? I mean, why even bother to say it out loud? Why bring attention to my failings? It’s frustrating enough for me, when another week passes by without my goals being accomplished, so I can only imagine how annoying it is for other people.

But the worse thing of all? The real humdinger? I’ve already made public my biggest intention EVER: that I’m writing a novel! God help me…

As an aspiring author, I’ve learnt from many sources that it’s imperative to build up an online presence from very early on in the piece. Whether you’re hoping to be picked up by a traditional publisher, or planning to go down the self-publishing route, it’s not enough these days to simply write the book.

More and more writers are now having to take responsibility for book covers, editing, formatting, distribution and promotion. And it’s promotion of not only the book, but also ourselves as authors. Readers — we are told — want to know the person behind the book; they want to see the big picture; they want to share in your excitement when the book is published.

If you want to sell your book, you have to sell yourself. And this means announcing to the world that you’re an author… before you’ve even finished writing that book!

You have to take a punt that you’re going to be published before you actually are. And with it, you have to have conviction, and gusto, and the metal to achieve what you’ve promised to the world!

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Phew. It’s probably the biggest intention I have EVER made. I’ve ‘come out’ as a writer. I have promised the world I will finish my book.

But here’s the thing… I’m not writing 😦

Should we say our intentions out loud?

There’s a school of thought that believes to say your goal out loud makes you somehow more accountable, and by making your goal public, you are more likely to achieve it.

Perhaps what spurs you on — when you finally pluck up the courage to do it — is the fear of being labelled a liar, or a fraud, or just plain crazy. Or it could be the desire to prove to others you can do it. Or even the act of voicing your goal itself.

In any case, there are people that swear by it. And they’re getting their success stories.

So why – tell me why – it’s not working for me? Am I different to other people? Don’t I care what others think of me? Am I really that intent on becoming a good-for-nothing charlatan?

I can assure you, that is not the case… but I’m still not writing.

A genuine excuse? Or is there something else?

Every day, there seems to be something more important, something more enticing, something more sensible to do than writing.

There’s the day to day stuff of course: looking after my girlies, cooking, cleaning, my part time job at a community centre, and my editing business. And when I get chance, I’m editing what I’ve already written my novel, I’m reading, I’m blogging, I’m connecting with people on Facebook and Twitter, and I’m telling the world I’m a writer.

It’s a lot, and I don’t pretend that it’s not.

But when I reach the end of the day, the week, the month, the year (!) and I still haven’t written a single bloody word to progress my story to the finish line, I’m sad. Really sad.

What about my promise to the world? To my family? To myself?

Surely if I can fit in everything I have to do, I can make at least some time for what it is I love to do! It’s about prioritising. And I’ve done it before. So why not lately? Why not right now, instead of writing this?

I’m leading a busy life, but surely there’s got to be something else that’s holding me back.

So today, instead of moaning and groaning, and sobbing into my coffee as usual, I’ve decided to take a closer look… to see if I can get to the bottom of this inane situation.

I’ve got my thinking head on…

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As far as I can see, there are three potential reasons for a lack of conviction, and three potential solutions to the problem. Three potential reasons and three potential solutions that you might find useful — especially if you’re experiencing the same sticky patch as me…

1. No conviction? Let’s practice.

An obvious answer, yes, but one I must consider. Was I actually born with no conviction? Did something happened to me early on, that might have caused me to act so wishy washy?

I look back over my life and cannot pinpoint an event that I deem to be significant, yet I still feel I must address the possibility that I am indeed conviction-less.

So starting from tomorrow… I mean right now… I’m going to practice having conviction.

I will start small, and build up. I will be immediate and tangible. I will say nothing unless I mean it…

I’m going for a walk.

[walking out the door]

I’m having salad for lunch.

[preparing the lettuce]

I’m having an early night tonight.

[turning out the light]

Hopefully, over time, I can build up my conviction muscle, and when I say an intention out loud, I will believe I can complete my goal and will actually see it through.

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2. No sense of urgency? Let’s turn up the heat.

Perhaps I want to lose some weight. Perhaps I want to get fitter. Perhaps I want to be a famous author. All of those goals are lovely, but quite honestly, they can be put off. I don’t have a gun to my head, forcing me to do these things. I don’t have a looming deadline, or an immediate consequence.

Quite often, I feel that what I want to do can wait until I’ve achieved what I need to do. And no amount of reasoning, that actually, I do need to do what I want to do, seems to change that. Even imagining the future consequences doesn’t do it; they are too far away to be of concern right now.

So, I’m going to use some reverse psychology here. What if I tell myself that I don’t have to do what it is I want to do? That I can let it slide forever. That I don’t ever have to fulfil my dreams or goals.

After all, no-one’s going to die if I don’t do this — except me, deep inside…. eeeeek, that’ll do it!!

But I want to be happy and healthy, and I will eat a salad for lunch!

But I want to be a writer, and I will finish my book!

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3. No self-confidence? Let’s get some feedback.

I’ll be honest here. Part of me is worried that I don’t have it in me to finish the book. That I actually can’t write. And that I’m destined for failure. There, I’ve said it.

Perhaps this is why I’m stalling? Maybe deep down I’m putting off the inevitable reveal of my story to the world. And because I’m so close to finishing, the worry is building rapidly, and procrastination has moved in.

When I say this out loud, it seems silly. And not because I have such a strong belief in my ability to write, but because I’ve come so far. I’ve only got two chapters to go; I might as well finish now, for God’s sake.

So let’s build up some confidence. From today, on my blog, I will publish some of my creative writing. I have a few short stories under my belt, and it would be great to get some feedback.

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And if my writing is really that bad, it’s not the end of the world, right? At least I’ve tried. And surely that’s the most important thing.

If I didn’t at least try, I would always wonder ‘what if?’ and upon reaching the end of my life, never know if I had what it took.

We can only do our best; that’s what my mum always says to me. All the way through school, university, various jobs, my life. Well, you’re right, mum. I’m going to give this my best shot. And if it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be.

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Whatever your intention, let’s make it happen. I’m starting today. Are you?

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14 thoughts on “3 reasons for a lack of conviction… and how to finish that book!

  1. I think you’re being too hard on yourself. You have so much going on…so many distractions, that when you do get some down time it’s only natural that you want to chill and watch telly etc. It’s your brain trying to recharge and relax which I think is necessary when you have two young kids! If you take the pressure off I expect you’ll get into it again. I totally relate to all you’ve said about procrastinating and I put it down to never having enough time. Big slots of time. It’s no wonder you can’t write when you are squeezing it in here and there. Too much pressure!……and with the added madness that new authors are meant to big themselves up BEFORE finishing the book?! Screw that idea I say! Maybe I’m out if touch but once it’s finished you’ll have the confidence to ‘sell’ it no problem. I’m sure plenty of people still do it this way round. Take a break from thinking about it and come back to it. Nothing wrong with that xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • There certainly does seem to be a lot of pressure on new writers, it’s true. But to stand out above 2283 ebooks being published EVERY DAY (Amazon alone!), it’s advice that must be taken. The good news is I’m currently feeling very positive about finishing the book, and this post is simply a way of affirming what I need to do to grow my (and hopefully others) confidence and conviction, that I can do this. And I want my readers to experience the ups AND downs of writing a book. But an UP is coming – I can feel it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There are things I always and I mean ALWAYS plan to do….in my head. I have always been one to think about it the night before, so as to “train my brain.” The next day…I get up and do what I was thinking about.
    Here’s the catch…..I don’t want to do anything anymore. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great idea – to decide the day before what you are going to accomplish the next. I think the key would also be to keep the list manageable. Sorry to hear you don’t want to do anything at the moment. Perhaps you should start endeavouring to do one thing every day that will make you feel good. And for no other purpose. It sounds like you deserve it x

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      • I would keep it simple…for me….like painting a room….or starting a quilt….or organizing my sewing room or something….I just don’t care about that stuff anymore. Maybe some day…..:)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, at last, that a writer is being honest! Apart from me, but I’m borderline inappropriate. I find the self- promotion juggernaut exhausting. I’m not whining. I do it. I play the game because, as you state in your post, I’m up against staggering odds.

    But it sometimes feels ruthless and soul less. ‘Join this Facebook group, add your blog link, but only on a Monday, if the wind is blowing in the East, and you trawl through the 1458 other links, like at least 20, and comment on them all.

    I’ve given myself a slap today for spending the last two days mostly ‘playing this game’. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll support fellow writers and then some, but after I get to know you AND I’m interested in your work. I choose my books carefully to suit my tastes, I’ve learned to apply the same rule with writers’ social media groups’, messages, follows etc.

    I also am rebellious and don’t always like 20 posts/links. I know! I’m so down with my bad ass self, defying the moderators and skirting close to being expelled from the group! They’ll probably read this and do it anyway. Oh well. I’ll live.

    Maybe I’ve used this social media gig as a distraction from writing too. Your post is timely because I’m writing one, to be published soon, about openly declaring I’m nearing the end of writing my novel. A little bit to go yet but the end is in sight.

    I’ve contemplated not saying anything. Like you, I’m the Queen of good intentions, said out loud, that don’t quite happen, at all or a lot later than planned. But I’ve decided to blog it. Not because I’m drumming up potential business, but for me. I owe it to myself.

    I may not finish it next week or in a few months, but I will. I’m not stupid enough to put a time frame in my post! No one can be harder on myself than I am.

    Let them ask why we’re not writing, not finishing, not being everything they imagine a writer to be. That’s just a fairytale anyway. I’d also tell them good luck with asking the questions to a woman possibly on the edge, or with PMS, or possibly both.

    By the way, here’s a nugget of wisdom (nah, haven’t got it in me) you ARE writing. This blog post attests to that and I know the work that can go into it. This. Is. Writing.

    Now go and eat chocolate. It cures all ‘writery’ ailments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me cry – thank you so much. I mean it. Sometimes I feel like such a fraud. But you’re right, life isn’t a fairy tale, and shit can get in the way. BUT I am still writing yes; I am still here! And if I don’t make others believe I am a writer, I’m not sure I have the strength to believe it myself. I told my mum about your lovely comment tonight, and she saw I was emotional about the whole finishing my book thing. And she told me that I’d been a writer since I was 4 years old, and I would always be a writer no matter what. And I was definitely going to be a published author someday. I always seem to need this validated, but it – shamelessly – feels so good to hear it. Thanks Mum. And thanks Lisa. Oh, and by all means, go out into the world and say you’re close to finishing your book, no matter the pressure, because I for one will support you until you do 🙂 x

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  4. Life’s busy. There are so many things to do, what with family and work and everything else. Do what you can on the writing front and be happy.

    I practise law and used to get so beasted at work that I was too tired to be useful at home. Then I nearly died. Now I’ve come back and am still a lawyer and work is still too busy, but I make time for my family. And I even manage to write a bit.

    But never give up on your dreams!

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    • I’m also going through a scary health issue at the moment. Just trying to take things day by day and be with my family as much as possible. Really hoping I have time to achieve all the things I want to achieve, when I’m out the other end of this challenging time. I won’t give up. But my priorities have changed temporarily. Any advice on getting through this appreciated.

      ‘Then I nearly died’ You sound so matter of fact. I guess it does that to you :/

      Liked by 1 person

      • So sorry to hear about your health issues. I guess I can sound matter of fact because I’m through to the other side. When I was facing an abyss, it was scary. But I’ve tended to punch above my weight both physically and mentally, so I focussed send on getting through minute by minute, then day by day. Just never give up and know you will get through! A big reason for doing my blog is to try to help people going through health (and other difficult) issues in their lives. There is so much to say on this, but I won’t waffle on. All the best!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, thanks. Maybe you’ll be glad to hear there’s a lot more to come on my blog.
    But you have to focus on getting better. And I know from what and how you write that you already have the mental strength to do it!

    Liked by 1 person

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