I am starting to think that trying to become a writer is a lot like trying to lose weight. In the beginning, we have a high level of enthusiasm, but if we are not careful, we will all drown in a gallon of peanut butter cup ice cream.
This comparison seems even more appropriate after reading an article by The 1 Word That’s Destroying Your Chance at Losing Weight and Being Healthy.
Dominique explains that when her doctor put her on a new diet, she was so focused on what she was not allowed to eat.
The list of things you can’t eat seemed infinite . . . no peaches, no wheat, no milk, no fruit juice or avocados or honey (there are quite literally hundreds of items). I focused so much on the “no” list that I had zero idea what to eat. I sat there paralyzed (and honestly, starving, with low blood sugar that probably exacerbated this situation). Panic started to creep in.”
She goes on to say that if she would have focused more on what she could eat, she would have realized that there were plenty of options to chose from. She could have had eggs, banana, oranges or oatmeal. But instead, she thought solely on what she was now allowed to have and it prevented her from doing anything.
I don’t know about you, but this happens to me a lot as a writer. I will come up with an idea for a book about, say, a pilot, only to talk myself out of it because I do not know enough about airline industry. I will brainstorm an idea for a thrilling court case, only to stop because I have never actually been in a courtroom.
There are more things I know nothing about than things I know a lot about. So, it is natural that I can more easily come up with a list of books I can’t write. This prevents me from making a list of books I can write.
And much like,and her new diet, this is paralyzing.
Luckily for us, Dominique came to a realization for how to step out of the I-can’t-quicksand.
The second I stopped focusing on what I couldn’t do and focused on what I could — in this case, it was “I can actually move my body forward for several miles at a slow pace without dying” — I opened myself up to an entire world of healthy activity.
There are plenty of things we can’t do. Forget about those things. By focusing on what we can do (or eat, or write about), we are more likely to lose a few pounds…or become a writer.