The Restless Writer
The Restless Writer: desires to write and is full of determination, yet they are plagued by deep doubt that sabotages their progress.
They need to learn confidence.
The Restless Writer wants to write, and does write, but gets easily discouraged by their own inner editor. That doubting voice will whisper lies to them like:
“You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“Your work is boring and lame.”
“Who are you kidding - no one wants to read what you write!”
I know from personal experience how debilitating this lack of courage can be to a writer’s drive. And since every writer, throughout their writing career, goes through phases of being a Restless Writer, there is a ton of research out there on how to combat this issue.
So, how can we help our child, when they are the Restless Writer?
I’ve found there are five ongoing practices you can apply to transform your struggling Restless Writer into a Confident, Fearless writer.
Five Methods For Inspiring The Restless Writer:
1. Acknowledge their Fear (all creatives experience this!)
2. Encourage and Support (their ideas and their reasons for writing)
3. Listen and be Invested (how and when to offer feedback)
4. Reality Check (list fears they’ve overcome in the past)
5. Validate their Identity (gifts that help them own the title of “writer”)
1. Acknowledge their Fear
If you’re a writer, you know how difficult writing can be. If you’re not a writer, you know how difficult writing can be! Remember and acknowledge this when working with your Restless Writer.
Writers, by nature, are introverts and empaths. We feel deeply, we observe the nuances that everyday non writer-muggles miss. We are sensitive and we are prone to taking offense to criticism. We want to make connections with our writing, but also don’t want people to actually Read our writing - but they can read it only if they’ll love it - but they must sincerely love it, and not just flatter us.
Whew! Complicated, right?
This is the crazy train that rolls through our brain when writing, and when sharing our work.
Your child may be saying to themselves, “If I can’t finish my story or can't share my story, then I guess I’m not a writer after all.”
Help your Restless Writer understand that all writers go through the self-doubt, the fear, the rejection.
Just Google “famous author doubts” or “do published writers get blocked?”
There are entire books on this topic! Just look at the snapshot of results that came up when I searched “books on writing fears”
Show your Restless Writer that they’re not alone.
The following statements are from famous authors on how they experience doubt with their writing and how they move past it:
It happens to all of us.
“Every writer has moments of self-doubt, although when it happens, you definitely feel as though you're the only one. When it happens to me, I'm convinced I'm an imposter, a failure. I tell myself my successes have been flukes and I should permanently retire my notebook and pen.”
- Damien Angelica Walters
To blast this fear, Ms Walters suggests: take a break- go outside, watch a movie, do something other than writing.
“When I do that, the negative feelings start to melt away and I remember why I write: because I love it.”
Fear of the blank page is a real thing.
“...the vast empty spaces of the blank page appall, and everyone walks into the maze blindfolded.”
- Margaret Atwood
To combat this fear, Ms Atwood says
“Look behind you - you are not alone.”
Be comforted by the fact that every writer behind you and in front of you has been blocked by a blank page. They overcame; you can too!
Many established, published writers still feel like phonies.
“As a writer I’m no stranger to impostor syndrome; I spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder for the man in the uniform and the badge who will demand to see my certificate of authenticity, then declare it a fake.”
- Angela Slatter
To combat this blockade, Ms Slatter pulls back from her work and asks why she’s struggling with a particular piece of writing.
“Usually because I’m trying to jam it in the wrong place.”
So, a good practice after your young writer discovers why they are blocked, is to find a way to fix it. Usually this just means your child needs to learn more about their craft. The solutions can be found in craft books on writing, through a feedback writers’ group or a creative writing workshop.
Tomorrow, we'll go over method 2 of 5 in transforming your Restless Writer by Encouraging +Supporting their ideas and their reasons for writing.
I'll talk about giving them more freedom and less censorship. Oh, controversy!
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