NaNoWriMo PsychoTherapy Session #1

Posted: November 1, 2011 in NaNoWriMo
Tags: , , ,

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Today marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month– a cool idea that focuses aspiring writers on getting a 50,000 word project out of their head and down on paper.

It’s a great way to fight procrastination and get going on something you’ve been dreaming of

My first career was as an addiction counselor. I’ve have a masters degree in psychology and I still teach a counseling course. I trained with a famous shrink named Albert Ellis and got certified in a cognitive behavioral style known as Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.

I’d like to help out NaNoWriMoers by offering some counseling for the most common irrational beliefs that will get in their way when it comes to writing. The NaNoWriMo site has plenty of practical writing advice that you can find here..

For the next thirty days we’ll look at the thoughts and emotions that keep people from writing their own novel/

Today’s Irrational Belief About Writing:

I can’t write a novel. I’ve never done it before and it will suck.

Let’s break this thought down. Can you type coherent sentences? Are you literate?

You can write a book, not necessarily a good book, but you can mechanically write a book. No question.

Now, for the second part. You’ve never done it before and it will suck.

This could very well be true. The first time you do something you have to develop a learn-as-you-go process. You will need to continue to type when you feel insecure.

And what if it sucks? Let’s suppose it does suck. What would be the problem with that? Must you only do things that you excel at? Is it shameful to attempt something and not be great at it?

Of course not.

Albert Ellis used to say “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” In other words, if you like something, do it because it’s rewarding not because you’ll excel at it. Not playing basketball because Michael Jordan does it better than you is a silly reason to not do something you like.

Okay? Ass on chair, fingers on keyboard. Type.

  1. Amy says:

    Great advice, Tom. Even those of us who have cranked out a few novels already still have those same doubts at times. This a great reminder that the end is worth the journey.
    Happy Nov 1st everyone….

  2. Graham says:

    How do you deal with, “This is a great idea. I love these characters. I’ll work on it tomorrow.”? That seems to be my problem.

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