“The bigger and more important the goal (in a life-fulfilling kind of way), the louder and more insistent the “inner critic” becomes. Inner critics (also referred to as gremlins or saboteurs) are those voices that try to bring you down or protect the status quo with phrases like “you are not experienced/smart/unique enough to reach that goal” or “you can’t do that-who do you think you are?” We all have inner critics. Learn to notice the difference between these voices and what you know to be true.” - Jenny Blake, Life After College
I’ve been able to shut up my inner critic time and time again. When I thought I couldn’t make it on my own after losing my job early last year, I motivated myself into becoming a (knock on wood) successful entrepreneur. When I thought I’d never find the perfect women to marry, I walked down the aisle last year and committed the rest of my life to my beautiful wife. When I thought I’d never be able to get physically fit, I’ve dropped 20 pounds in the past 5 months (I’ve still got a ways to go).
Silencing the gremlins is something, admittedly, I’m pretty damn good at. I firmly believe that anything you want to do, you can do. It’s a simple lesson I share with everyone I consult with, speak to, and call friends.
So why, then, is there this one hurdle I can’t overcome? Why is this one big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) so damn tricky for me to get started on? Why can’t I write a book?
My partner Sam Davidson has done it (several times – his latest book “Simplify Your Life” just released this week). My friend Jenny Blake is out there promoting her book (quoted above) “Life After College“. I’ve literally sat back and watched those around me turn good ideas into brilliant books.
So what’s held me back? What does the inner critic say when I tell myself I’m going to write a book?
- You don’t have a good idea. This is probably the biggest obstacle that holds any writer back – whether it be a book or a blog post, we tell ourselves that if our idea isn’t innovative or unique enough, it doesn’t need to be written. But, and I’ve said it before – the thing that makes your writing unique is that YOU wrote it. The idea may not necessarily be novel, but you/I offer a perspective that is shaped by our own personal experiences – and that’s what makes a good idea.
- You’re not a great writer. You’re only a bad writer if you convince yourself you’re not any good. It’s not about being the most eloquent author, it’s about writing with passion, emotion, and connecting with your readers. Besides, there’s always copy-editors that can help you polish.
- You don’t have time. You do have time, if you make time. Enough said.
- You’re not going to make any money. If you’re writing a book to be a millionaire, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Write because it’s something you’re passionate about it – and if you hit it big, consider it an added perk.
So, inner critics silenced. Today, June 3, 2011 – I’m openly committing to writing a book.
I will write 500 words a day, with the first benchmark at 30,000 words. Which means, 60 days from now, I’ll be well on my way to seeing my name on a book jacket.
Some days will be tougher than others – but I’m not going to focus so much on the quality as I am simply getting my 500 words a day in. I’ll worry about the critiquing and editing later.
How can you get involved?
I want the entire process to be as open and transparent as possible. Thus, I’ll be sending out a weekly email highlighting my progress and giving a behind the scenes look at the ups and downs, lefts and rights, and hurdles to overcome while turning this into a reality.
Why should you sign up?
- You’re at all interested in being a part of my journey from blog writer to book author.
- You’re interested in writing a book yourself and want to keep each other accountable.
- You’re an avid reader of Life Without Pants.
- You think I’m a cool guy.
- You like getting emails that don’t suck.
Sign up below – and starting Monday, let’s embark on this journey together. I look forward to every single one of you being a part of this. And here’s to continuing to silence our inner critics.