Recently, I found two articles in the same day about how authors deal with these sort of limiting beliefs in their writing process: one by Anne R. Allen, and one by Chuck Wendig. They’re extremely different authors, with very, very different approaches to both writing and their limiting beliefs. (Those who aren’t fond of strong language may wish to steer clear of Wendig’s blog ... he uses it like most use punctuation. I find his insight worth looking past it for, but your mileage may vary.) Anne R. Allen examines the beliefs which hold her back, in order to remove them, realizing that some came from random encounters and were never repeated. She applies this tactic to her writing style more than her approach to the life of an author. Chuck Wendig, however, blasts forth with a tirade against those who, whether consciously or not, have given authors the message that they do not want us to be creative people. He encourages us to ignore and blow past those messages in bombastic, gleefully offensive fashion, and the rebel in me, the kid in me with her fingers in the cookie jar? She eats it up like sugary breakfast cereal or potato chips.
So which one of them is right, you ask? Do we examine the things holding us back: sit with them, study them like old belongings, reminiscing about the good things they once brought us before donating them to charity to serve others the way they served us? Or do we simply rip them to shreds, cackling madly, and dump them in the trash?
I think, perhaps, both. It depends entirely on which belief is getting in your way. With the right application of common sense and practicality, it is possible to determine whether or not ingrained statements like “those kind of books are trash”, or “don’t you think it’s time you wrote about something different?” are worth going into depth thinking about. That first example? Wendig it. Wendig it right out the window with the expletive of your choice and a grand, sweeping gesture that would make your inner child proud. It’s the sort of thing that you know right away is smelly, dumb, and keeps you from having fun. The second one, though, that may require Allen’s treatment. If you have more to say on that particular “something”, you shouldn’t keep yourself from writing it ... but perhaps a change of pace will help you come back to it with fresh eyes. It’s all subjective.
Until next time, you can find me down by the water....