One of my mentors and teachers Byron Katie shares that there are 3 types of business: your business, others’ business and the universe’s business. The weather, for example, is the universe’s business. My five year old daughter was experiencing this worry this morning as she shared her concerns that it was going to be raining on Halloween. The universe’s business are circumstances outside of our control, liberating, yes? Other people’s business, is also out of our control. How much time do we spend on other people’s business? This is also not something we can do anything about. Then, there is our own business and if we are living effectively, this is where we are focussing our attention and time. This is where we have the capacity for change and growth.
So, the question becomes how are you in other people’s business when you are writing? Are you wondering about what others will think of what you have written? What they will think about it or what they will say about it? Is this serving you while you are writing? We can consider all the possible responses from reviewers or your supervisor and try to address them but is focusing on others what is going to create YOUR best work?
Sure, there are times to consider reviewer’s responses (when you actually have them and you have been asked to respond to them) and aren’t there also times to let them go and tap into your most creative self?
So, the question becomes how do we “let them go” when we are carrying them all around with us like a peanut gallery? What I find is a most effective simple tool that works for myself and my clients is to experiment with the following:
- Be expecting these questions to come up of what others will say or think and create an understanding for yourself that it is part of the process
- Have a piece of paper or notebook beside you while you are writing – ready to capture them as they arise
- As the questions come up for you write them down, let them all out, this can be a process for letting them go.
- Go back to writing your paper, thesis, grant and being creative.
So of course the next question that you may hear a part of you asking is – HOW? How is writing down my fears, doubts, concerns and worries about reviewers/supervisors going to help me? Isn’t that just going to emphasize them? Bring them up more? Making them more known to me? Scare me more? Keep me stuck? Make me realize something I don’t want to see? Isn’t this something that I want to get rid of and not invite? Isn’t that going to just create more of a problem for me?
If you hear all these questions as you read this or some version of them. Write those down too.
Here’s what I have come to realize in my own work with writing and with all of my clients.
By writing down all the questions, concerns, doubts and worries it allows them to be seen and, seemingly suddenly, you are feeling more able to get your ideas down and onto paper. When my clients move through the resistance of writing these down they report back that they are “suddenly” writing. They are wondering why it is suddenly so much easier and now the ideas are flooding in and out onto the page. Shining a light on the fears allows an opening to occur.
This process is available to you too. Practise writing the thoughts down. Take a look at them. See that your fears, doubts, worries, concerns are sentences in your mind. This is the first step. You have lots of practise thinking them. By writing them down, this will support you in seeing them, maybe for the first time.
This part of us that is coming up with all of the reasons to not write can be sneaky and there can be a strong resistance associated with writing down the questions, concerns, worries and doubts – the fear – that comes up for you when you are writing.
Also, if you are reading this and your mind is finding lots of reasons to NOT write down your thoughts and feelings about writing (maybe something like – Melissa is crazy town, that will never work! It’s way to simple. I know what I am thinking. I don’t need to write it down. Shouldn’t I just be writing? Wouldn’t that be more productive? Wouldn’t self-reflecting just be another way of avoiding the real work of writing. Oh man, am I ever dreading writing this paragraph.) Those thoughts are more sneaky fear-based thoughts and also an indication that you may benefit from the accountability and support provided by a powerful coaching experience who can help you to see this when it’s happening. I know I do (and I am so grateful for the support!)
If you are ready to take the next step in changing your relationship with writing and opening up your creative self so that you can make your unique contributions to the world, your next step is to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your complimentary Discovery Call where we will take a look at what’s coming up for you and whether the work that I do is a good fit for you or not.
Resources: Loving what is by Byron Katie. Live changing. Period.