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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

What’s Your Writing Mountain?


summit canstockphoto1902224 (2)Your big writing dream – a novel, short story collection, memoir, screenplay, chapbook, publishing a piece in a publication you admire or consistently posting to your blog – is your mountain.

You can spend all your time staring up at the mountain, marveling at how high it is, how dangerous the weather looks, how amazing the people who climb it are. You can keep yourself frozen in place thinking about what a big deal it is.

Nothing can freeze the creativity right out of your brain and send you running away from your writing in search of a distraction as fast as contemplating the enormity and complexity of a big writing project. The bigger the dream, the bigger the resistance.

To get past that resistance, stop staring at the mountain and telling yourself how immense it is. Bring your gaze back to the trail right in front of you and start walking.

No one ever takes a really big step. Not really. That last step to the summit is most visible to outsiders and therefore looks huge. It feels fabulous and definitely deserves celebration. But the last step is really just another step, pretty much the same size as the steps that came before it.

You accomplish huge things by accumulating a lot of small “I can do this” steps.

Even Creative Leaps?

A flash of creative insight might look like a huge, spontaneous leap of intuition, but that big, gratifying “A-ha!” is always preceded by a whole lot of little, seemingly insignificant steps, one after the other.

The “A-ha” can’t happen without all the “what if’s”, “how about’s”, “why not’s.” Not to mention all the dead-ends, u-turns and restarts that lead to that insight. And without taking action on all the “now what’s” that follow it, the “A-ha” is pointless.

Keep Climbing One Step at a Time

Of course, you have to have courage and commitment to take your first step. And the next step, and the next one after that. It’s smart to have a map, guide and companions you trust. It’s important to have the supplies and equipment you’ll need when you start and to know where and when you can replenish those supplies.

But it all comes down to taking the next small step. Step by step, day after day.

What’s your next step?

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2 Comments on “What’s Your Writing Mountain?”

  1. Lyn Cramer September 10, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Thanks again Rosanne Your posts continue to help me stay on track, or get back on, One step at a time. That’s the deal.
    Today I print up and revise a piece I am not seeing clearly on the computer. Using a different perspective is today’s method.

    Like

    • rosannebane September 14, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

      You’re most welcome, Lyn. Thanks for letting me know the posts are helpful. Shifting modes (from computer to printed copy and back again) is a great strategy for changing your perspective.

      Like

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