3 min read

Most of the ‘writing dilemmas’ stem from one fundamental error. The error of skipping the steps a part of you know you can’t skip. Training steps. Preparation steps. Mistake steps. We start writing and become surprised by not getting instant success, followed by disappointment and self-loathing.

This is because we skip the preparation steps. We skip them because of two things. First, we don’t know that we should do them, no-one told us we need to prepare and train for writing. Yet we do it with everything else. Second, a ‘feeling’ over-rules the thought of preparation. We ‘feel’ we should not have to prepare. We allow this feeling to dictate over, and annihilate a healthy investigate phase of preparation. And we become self-loathing because we didn’t win a marathon without preparation.

But there is another great hindrance in realizing this error. Right now, your brain understands the importance of preparation. But your instinctual ‘feel’ of not having to prepare remains unreachable and un-educated — it is this ‘feel,’ that needs to be shaved down under your authority, and you can’t talk it into it.

When we have to spend time on something we ‘feel’ we should not have to spend time on — we’re dealing with a primal fear — the fear of dying.

If you were running a marathon, you’d browse resources, watch documentaries, and track down advice, you’d be intimidated, and use doubt as a fuel to achieve. While, when we skip preparation steps, we get stuck with the last part of this chain: doubt followed by immediate disappointment. It’s obvious when I count these steps on this page — it’s obvious what error is being made. This error has become a habit that not even your intellectual can break. Habits are stubborn entities, animalistic and fierce. They fight for their lives like everything in nature. To change one, you’ll have to accept what you’re unwilling to accept: It’ll take time to re-train this entity. The fact that ‘anything you don’t want’ takes time — brings sorrow — why did we not do this earlier, it’s too late now. Notice the words ‘earlier’ and ‘late.’ These two are ‘time’ based thoughts. For a part of our subconscious, the concept of time means death.

When we have to spend time on something we ‘feel’ we should not have to spend time on — we’re dealing with a primal fear — the fear of dying. When we want to change a habit, we’re fighting against an entity that is literally fighting for its life. No wonder it’s hard to change habits — because we also skip steps in preparing to change them — because we don’t want to examine what they’re made of. This adds to the mill of avoidance. We avoid fixing the ‘skipping steps’ habit of writing because it’s extremely scary. We’d never admit that because if we did, we’d have to face the biggest discomfort of all; the fact we’ll run out of time and die. We opt to carefully plan the same set-up: let’s not prepare and be equally surprised that we don’t get results.

The tragedy is that we know better. We’re a bird that has chosen to be caught on a beach after an oil disaster. We try and limp away from the black oil in the sea, and fall again and again — until the sea gets us and pulls us into the dark abyss. This is a heartbreaking loop that needs to be broken. Only you can break it. That means you’ll have to create your own set of tools to works this out. We can’t just sit there, stuck in the grip of anticipation of what we’re going to write.

Because the creating doesn’t come through writing. It comes from you realizing your creation and that you have choices and options to realize who you are. If you get words down, and if you happen to write a story, great. Writing success is a correlational bonus that goes hand in hand with your personal, incremental discovery of the massive complexity you’re made of.

Olaf de Fleur

Creative unlocker. At your disposal. I direct and write films. Two-decade experience. Fifteen films. Sold high concepts. Corporate consultant.