3 questions from your creative brain that overrule the negativity chatter from your lizard brain about whether you can write a book.
“It’s rarely doing the work that is hard, it’s starting the work. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to continue working. This is why—in the beginning—it is often more important to build the habit of getting started than it is to worry about whether or not you are doing enough.”James Clear
Today let’s visit with a recent theme I’ve been talking about on my podcast for authors – the ancient lizard brain vs. the modern executive center of our brain. The lizard tells us we’re never doing enough of the “right” things and works hard to prevent us from engaging in non-survival activities. Because it was programmed a super long time ago, it needs us to keep hunting, gathering, piling up food, and shoring up the shelter to survive the winter.
When your brain is telling you you’re failing as a writer and not doing enough, be aware of where that lie is coming from. The executive center, on the other hand, is telling you that there is no reason why you can’t start doing the thing right now, that you’re good enough, and you have everything you need to write a book (for instance).
Don’t get the two voices confused. Once you start paying attention to them, they’re pretty distinct voices. I find that the lizard voice is the louder, more urgent, and physically visceral voice, like – “if you don’t listen to me you will diiieee.” (Calm down you pesky little reptile.)
Here’s a checklist straight from your creative brain to help you tune into the voice in your head that really matters, the one that wants the most and best for you:
#1: Push aside all the self-doubt and future logistical worries about publishing and other parts of your author journey. In your heart of hearts – do you really want to write a book? Sit with what comes up. If you do – then do it. The other stuff will work itself out at the right times. You don’t need to wrap your arms around the entire author journey on day one, nor should you try.
#2: What else have you done in your life that didn’t seem to make sense at the time? What other journeys have you embarked on where you only saw step one, but you started anyway? Whether those journeys worked out in the end or not – did you have fun and/or learn lessons from the attempt? Good. Now do that with a book (if writing a book is your goal).
#3: And in line with the quote at the top of this newsletter – what exactly is keeping you from getting started now? Being real, is that likely to change in the next month, months, or year? Or are you just telling yourself that because you’re afraid to start now?
Keeping an unrealized dream under glass isn’t nearly as fun as breaking the glass and taking it out for a spin. Break the glass, because following your dreams is an emergency!
Your creative brain has got your back. It wants what’s best for you. It wants you to at least try. Drown out the lizard and go for it. Get the wheel in motion and build some momentum. Habits happen through action.