Damned Useful Writing Habit #1. - Stop Blaming Your Tools


Well, hello, there, gorgeous writer!

I’m kicking off the official unofficial launch of The Writer in Full with a little five-blog series I’m calling Damned Useful Writing Habits.

I’m going to share, in brief and casual format, at interval, five habits that have proven particularly durable and useful for me during my decade-plus as a professional writer. And I’ll offer up easy suggestions for how you might put the habit into practice in your daily writing life.

Why? Because earlier this year, I finished another yearlong creative blogging challenge (check it out here) and learned some surprising things about myself in the process.

And because I’ve got a lot to teach other writers about writing and achieving their creative potential, and what better way to start than with a countdown of useful stuff?

And because I have high hopes for my new writer’s blog. I’m sad to close the chapter on its predecessor — the Terrible Creative Blog, but the time was ripe for a new platform and a new brand, so here we are.

At any rate, as we begin, a few words of caution:

There might be typos. (Like I said, this is quick and informal.)

This might take awhile. I’m heading to Africa in a few weeks and I’ve got a lot of freelance work on my plate, and there’s also a toddler running around my house asking to be fed and wiped and dandled.)

Regardless, I hope that you learn a few new things about yourself, your writing process and practice, and what it is that makes you tick creatively. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too.

Here goes something. 

Damned Useful Writing Habit #1: Stop Blaming Your Tools

The poor worker always blames his tools.

            -French(?) Proverb 

Today, I watched my toddler entertain herself for almost an hour playing with a gigantic leaf. It was a hat and a sword and a fan and a poker and a broom — a remarkable range of uses for a single, lowly leaf.

Watching her play reminded me, yet again, that we humans are so damned resourceful. And creative resourcefulness, too, isn’t just about the quality or quantity of the objects and tools that you have at your disposal, but also about your skill at refashioning and reimagining them to meet the whim at hand.

I think sometimes we all need to be reminded that we already have all the tools we need to make good on our writerly ambitions. Seriously. All of them. Already. In abundance.  

Every time you convince yourself otherwise, you’re just stalling, plain and simple.

I get it. I stall, too. As a gesture of solidarity, I’ll share with you at this outset a list of things I feel like I probably should have sorted out before I launched this blog:

·      A better logo

·      A smarter concept

·      A clear idea of where I’m going with said concept

·      A lead magnet

·      A finished book or some other product to sell to you at the end

·      A larger audience

·      A few more years’ life experience, because all the best writers are old

I have none of those things, despite the fact that I’ve been fretting about needing them for about fifteen years running.

But no time like the present, as the saying goes. Or was it no present like the time? I’m not sure anymore. At any rate. I’m launching myself anyway. And you can, too.

Habit Hack: Make a list of 10 things you need to do/set up/sort out in order to get the wheels turning on a stalled creative project. These10 things should all be practical, actionable items that you have the power to (at least) set in motion today. Now, scratch out the three most difficult-to-sort-out items, then scratch out the two most boring items. From the five left, circle the three items that most sing to you and devise a plan for making headway on them, beginning today.

But first, take a nap or a walk. Because it’s the weekend, and breaks are good for creative people like you!