Procrastination – Perfectionism

I must be perfect.

I must be perfect.

Perfectionism is a bit like the big brother of the fear of mistakes – the stakes, however, are much higher.

You can’t allow a single blemish, because then it wouldn’t be perfect anymore.

It takes enormous amounts of time and effort to be perfect, and the temptation to put it all off is much larger.

The cost of failure is also much higher – I’ll get to that in a moment.

Perfectionism is a killer.

That’s because perfectionism is the symptom of a very detrimental mindset.

In her book “Mindset”, Carol Dweck talks about a “fixed mindset”.

This is the belief that you can only be good at something if you have talent.

And talent expresses itself with perfect results right away.

Perfectionism is the expression of this belief.

The downside, however, is horrible. Continue reading

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Procrastination – Fear of Mistakes

Fear of Mistakes

Fear of Mistakes

From this post on, we’re going to look at the reasons behind procrastination, and we’re starting with the obvious:

Fear of doing something wrong.

Now, rationally, we know that making an error isn’t a big thing, it’s usually a moment where we can learn something or grow a little. That’s the adult way of looking at mistakes.

Emotionally, we’ve been drilled to live in fear of mistakes.

It starts in school. Every error is marked in red, and it costs us. Points. Grades. Love from the teacher. No smilies. No happy faces. Disgrace.

Maybe we even got laughed at.

So emotionally, we fear making a mistake.

And depending on the cost of the mistake, we are reluctant to do a task.

Which means that we’re more reluctant and likely to procrastinate more on a tax declaration than on cleaning the bathroom, in general. Continue reading

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Procrastination – Introduction

Nah, I'll do it later.

Nah… I’ll do it later

I think you all know this feeling.

This feeling of… nah, I’ll do it later.
No, not now… later.
I’m not in the mood, I’m not inspired, I’m not… whatever.

And then we procrastinate.

Nah, I’ll do it tomorrow, there’s still time…
Nah, it’s such a nice day, I’d rather go outside…

And at the worst, you open a file you should be working on… and you can’t do it. Instead, you find yourself playing Solitaire, or vacuuming the house, or – that happens to me all the time – you start writing a brand new story without finishing the old one.

And before I started writing this blog post, I quickly checked FB, and sent a good morning greeting to my own little chat room.

As you can see, I’m totally familiar with this…

But what causes procrastination?

I believe it’s not just “laziness”. Continue reading

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December Blog Break

December Blog Break

December Blog Break

I’m taking a break from blogging in December.

Because it’s like this: You guys are busy with the holidays. Family matters. It’s also the end of a stressful year, right? So we can all let it wind down, relax, take good care of ourselves and make the best of the season.

I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, happy holidays, much family time (and remember, you are your own family, too), and a safe, fun and cheerful New Year!

I’ll be back with a new post on January 11th.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – It’s over. And now?

Exhausted Author

Exhausted Author

Today is the last day of this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you’re making a huge push to win today, like I’m doing.

Maybe you already know you won’t make the 50,000 words.

And yes, it does matter in a way, and it doesn’t matter in another.

Why it matters that you win NaNo

Writing those 50k words wasn’t easy. You probably had to push yourself, you had to make yourself write even if you didn’t feel like it, and it probably was a struggle to find enough stuff to even put into the story.

You worked harder than in every other month of this years. And you stuck to your committment. You did this, and you should be proud of it.

What’s even more important – you proved to yourself that you can do that. That you can write every day, that you can create a story, and that you can finish a huge task by tackling a bit of it every day.

Well done!

Why it doesn’t matter that you win NaNo Continue reading

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Argh, I’m Behind!

Frantic Author

Argh, I’m behind!

If you’re like me, you’re keeping track of your NaNo word count. Maybe you have even diligently entered it into your dashboard at the NaNo website. Maybe you use a spreadsheet to monitor your word count and how you’re doing. (I do. Ahem.)

And you can see you’ve fallen behind.

Maybe a lot behind.

Here’s what you can do. But first, let’s figure out what type of writer you are.

How people do NaNoWriMo

For just a moment, I want to talk about the four kinds of NaNo participants. They way I see it, there are Racehorses, Steady Writers, Bingers and Dropouts.

Now, the Racehorses just run off and finish NaNo on Day 10, and then go on to accumulate word counts of over 100,000. I know people like that. You’re not one of them. I can say this fairly confidently, because Racehorses don’t bother to read NaNo blogs. They don’t need support since they are doing just fine.

The Steady Writers power up to the NaNo word count (1,667 words per day, plus a little buffer) every day, and they are exactly where they should be, plus buffer. There have been years when I have managed that, and it’s how I prefer to do NaNo. My daily aim is 2k words. One year, I finished NaNo on November 25th…

The Bingers go on writing binges and sprints and sometimes pull an all-nighter, and then they need a day or two to recover. They write their NaNovel in spurts.

And the Dropouts, well, they drop out. You’re not one of them, or you wouldn’t be here hoping to save your NaNovel. Continue reading

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – This is so hard!

struggling author

Struggling Author

NaNoWriMo has been going on for two weeks now.

If you’re like me, you’re more or less on target for the 25,000 words mid-month. If you’re like most of my writing buddies on the NaNo site, you’re behind.

And yet, you have been writing every day. Most likely, you’ve been writing more words in these two weeks than in the last three months together.

And it is HARD.

You may have sacrificed some sleep time for word count – I certainly did – and you may have cancelled meeting friends or other activities. And you’re most likely still behind.

In addition, you’re beyond the initial thrill with the story, and coming up with new plot points and interesting scenes is also getting harder.

Your brain is tired Continue reading

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Help, I’m Stuck!

I'm so stuck

I’m so stuck!

NaNoWriMo has been going for a week, and you’ve probably run into the bane of writing: You got stuck.

Brain: Empty.

Inspiration: None.

Story: Utterly stuck in a dead corner

And it’s easy to either panic in that moment or to throw up your hands and give up.

And believe that you’re not cut out to be a writer.

Here’s a secret:

It happens to every single one of us. Every writer gets stuck.

Every. Single. One.

It’s normal. It’s part of being a writer.

And one big part of NaNo is to create so much pressure on you to write – doing those 1,667 words per day isn’t necessarily easy – that you suspend your inner critic and just write. Continue reading

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Can I even do this?

Can I even do this?

Can I even do this?

Today is day 2 of NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you struggled getting the necessary word count yesterday (1,667 words, btw.). Maybe, like me, you didn’t even make it that far. Maybe you already doubt you can do it again because it was so hard.

Maybe you think that what you wrote is all terrible.

Maybe you are already doubting that you’re a writer.

This is how you fail NaNoWriMo on day 2.

And it’s totally unnecessary.

You see, the truth is, one day isn’t enough to find out if you’re a writer or not, especially during NaNoWriMo.

One day isn’t enough to know that what you wrote is bad.

So I’m asking you to step back for a moment and stop worrying about word count and plot and characters.

Take a deep breath. Continue reading

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Family System Dynamics – Final Thoughts

Family

Family

Family System Dynamics affect every single one of us – and of course, every character in your stories. I’ve been working with that kind of energy for years, and I hope I have been able to show some of what goes on in families to you.

This is very much a case where knowledge helps. Because you can only see what you know.

Visualizing a family system

Imagine a family like mobile, everyone tied together by that invisible energy of the family system. Everyone connected with the others.

That’s what you live in. That’s what I live in. What everyone lives in.

Even if we dislike our family.

This is unescapable. And real.

And yes, it can feel as if you’re caught in a web.

But this knowledge can arm you, and give you ways of working with this web that make life better for you – and often enough for the rest of the family. Continue reading

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