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  • Writer's pictureHolly

The Biggest Mistake Writers Make

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

I think the biggest mistake I see writers make is that they try to write their story before they’ve given themselves the space/time to do the work of truly knowing/understanding the story they’re trying to write. They expect themselves to go from having an idea, to just writing a final draft, perfectly. And when they inevitably fail at this, they decide it’s because they don’t have talent. But it doesn’t have anything to do with having talent. It has to do with the fact that they’re trying to climb Mt Everest, in a day, with no supplies, and no training, and actually expecting that it's going to work.

I totally get why writers do it. We live in a world that tells us it’s the finished product that matters above all else. That the product is where the validation is. In fact, it’s implied that we really only matter, or have something important to say, when we can prove it, in the form of a well written book or script. Or hell, maybe we only really matter when that book or script has sold millions. Short of that we will always just be imposters. Nonsense.

With that brand of pervasive thinking, who could blame a writer for feeling like they need to speed things up? For beating themselves up every step of the way until they get there. For feeling frustrated, instead of excited, when they realize there is so much more to discover before they can add to that word/page count. For feeling mad, instead of inspired, when new ideas flood in, that make them realize they might need to go back to drawing board with more revisions.

Inside of this mindset, the whole messy process, inherent with writing/creativity, feels like it's in the way. And too many are miserable the entire time they are trying to get to that finished book or script, that will prove that all the energy/dollars they spent on development, were worth it. They want to get to other side of the pain, quick.

But as your potential writing coach, who has most certainly been there, I’m here to tell you, STOP IT. I'm serious. If you want to be a writer, be a writer. This is something you get to decide, now, not when you hit some arbitrary benchmark. And get over this idea that your pursuits are going to lead anywhere, quick. They aren’t. Consider that it’s your unrealistic expectations that are causing you the most pain and likely stopping you from even getting started.

I laugh when I see these “how to write a book in 30 days” ads. Yeah, I’ll show you how to write a crappy, trite book, you barely remember writing, in 30 days. In fact, why not skip it all and just use AI to write a book in 30 seconds? When does the ridiculousness stop?

In my opinion, the only book/script worth writing is one that actually matters to you, as a unique human on this earth. One that you know you did all you could to make as great as you could possibly make it. The book/script where you know you put it all on the table. You hashed it out. You gave space to allow for the possibilities. You researched. You imagined. You daydreamed. You refused to tamp it down before it was ready. You grew. You let it take you on an adventure. You were moved. You got to the heart of something you didn’t even know you could get to heart of. And now you’re a better, wiser person for having done so.

Then you started writing. You wrote until you couldn’t stop. Then you tweaked it. You loved every last detail into perfection. Then you slowly started to share it with a trusted few. Finally letting others into your process. Continuing to tweak and hone until there was nothing left to do but let it go.

That’s a book worth writing. That’s a book worth reading. And if you do all that, then for you, that finished product will be superfluous. Sure, you’ll be excited to potentially share it with the world. Hoping it moves perfect strangers, the way it did you. But at that point you'll know the journey and what it pulled from you was the reward. The rest is just gravy.

If that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for. If you'd like to not only write your next book/script, but also change your entire approach to your creative pursuits. If you want to learn to love the process, knowing that doing so can't help but show in your eventual results, then let's talk about it.

Starting this September, I will be leading a select group of writers (from newbies to professionals) on this life changing year long journey, together. Because this journey is always better and more powerful together. Will you be one of them? You have some time to think about it. But don't think too long because spaces will fill up. Hop on a call with me (by clicking here) and let's just chat about it. Is it time to stop thinking about it and just do it?

Or share with me below. What are your thoughts on it all? What's stopping you from giving your heart what it wants? I would love to hear from you.

**Holly Payberg-Torroija is a writing/creativity coach and founder of Loving The Process where she helps people with great stories become writers with great books and scripts. If you're looking for a FREE intro workshop to help you get started click HERE

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