If you’re anything like, um, I don’t know, every writer I’ve ever met, then there will be times in your writing journey when you’ll wonder how, how, how you’ll ever get that book finished. Or even started. Sound familiar?
Regardless the flavor of your particular writing crazy, the excuses reasons most writers have for not writing fall under two different categories. The first one is wrong timing. The second one is garden-variety resistance.
Now many writing teachers will tell you there’s no such thing as “wrong timing.” They’ll say if you want to be writing and you’re not, it’s the evil machinations of resistance at work—always. As well-intentioned as such blanket statements may be, I don’t think they’re true. In my experience, books get birthed on a schedule. If your due date is long past, you know it. But it’s also possible that your due date is not here yet; that your literary baby is gestating for good reason. The key, then, is to know the difference.
That’s why I’ve created a short quiz to discern whether the delay is bad timing, or garden-variety resistance.
Just answer “True” or “False” to each of the following questions and then check the key to see if your delay is a legit timing issue—or if resistance has the better of you.
Kelly’s Resistance vs. Bad Timing Smackdown Quiz
- True or False: I’m clear about what’s going in my book, I just can’t seem to find the time to write it.
- True or False: Whenever I make it to the computer or notebook and write something, I feel like the writing flows.
- True or False (answer only if writing memoir): The story I want to write is complete; it already has a clear beginning, middle and end.
- True or False (answer only if writing prescriptive nonfiction): I feel really solid about the process/life lessons/guidelines I want to offer in the book.
- True or False: I feel like I could write this book with my hands tied behind my back, if only I would sit down and do it.
- True or False: I often worry that some people in my life aren’t going to like what I’m saying about them in the book.
- True or False: I’m clear on the genre of the book I’m writing (prescriptive nonfiction, memoir, fiction, poetry, children’s book, etc.). If I have multiple book ideas, I know which one I’m writing first.
- True or False: There’s a firm deadline by which I want to have a book or book proposal completed, in order to take advantage of a particular opportunity (like a writing contest, important holiday, election, major speaking gig, etc.).
- True or False: I’ve always had this hunch that I’m supposed to write a book someday.
- True or False: I definitely spend a chunk of my free time scrolling through social media and/or watching TV.
- True or False: I’ve written part of my book, but every time I go back to it, I start editing what I already wrote instead of writing the next section.
- True or False: If my kid/partner/boss needed my help for an extra 15 minutes I would definitely find the time, no matter what my day was like.
Now, add up all your Trues, and check out the chart below.
|Trues||Timing or Resistance?|
|Your book is probably still cookin’ in there! Give it more time. If you really want to start now, consider working with a writing coach or editor who can help launch the process with a well-developed concept and outline. Here’s a little word about editors and what they do for you.|
|3-5||Sounds like you’re almost ready to kick the writing into gear—but the timing may not be quite right. Still, it’s never too soon to strategize how you’re going to get this book written. It’s never too soon to develop a writing plan that will work for you.|
|6-8||Hmmm…the pieces are definitely falling into place. You know what you want to write about, so the roadblocks standing in your way are probably more about fear than anything else. Sounds like it’s time to familiarize yourself with the “R” word—and how to work with it.|
|9+||All your little writing ducklings seem to be in a row, so I hate to break it to you: It sounds like you’ve got a serious case of resistance. No shame, my friend. What’s standing in the way of your book dream is some probably really important, unconscious fear that came online when you were super young. Here’s how to love the heck out of your resistance—so you can start writing anyway.|
Wherever you land with this quiz, consider finding an editor or writing coach who specializes in working with writers at the start of the journey. It can be everything to have someone walking beside you. (And if you’ve got a serious case of the “Rs,” our coaching service may be a great option—check it out here.)
Love + Books,