Monday 11 March 2013

How to Make Writing a Priority in Your Life by Lisa Cherry (guest post) #ChaBooCha


How to Make Writing a Priority in Your Life

You’ve always wanted to be a writer, all your life. You’ve dreamt a million dreams of the moment where you are sitting down, endlessly pouring your heart out into the metaphorical type writer, with the fantasy sometimes taking you off to a vision of you sitting in a Summer House overlooking a lake,  gazing, writing and gazing some more. Finally you have given yourself permission to allow this version of yourself to seep out into real life, so why oh why can’t you just get on with it?

I’m not one for procrastinating. In fact, anyone who knows me will have heard me say “just get on
with it” on many an occasion to myself and maybe more gently to others. It’s just not in my nature to not do that which has to be done. Being late and waiting until the last minute to achieve things would send me into a spin and a panic.
Lots of people I speak too are not like this and even if they are, writing has thrown up a whole new aspect of their personality that had since been unknown. Have a long hard look at yourself and decide if you’re a “natural procrastinator” and whether you’ve seen this in your life before. If you have, then you could probably do with getting some help with strategies for managing that in all aspects of your life. If you’re not and you’re seeing this happen specifically around your writing project and you’re not sure what it’s all about, then you need to ask yourself some different questions. It’s time to do some soul searching because it might be that this behaviour is trying to tell you something.

Think about this:

  • Do you want to write about this subject? Is it emotionally challenging/boring/uneventful? Would you want to want to read about the content yourself!
  • Do you feel like you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve to write? Are you frightened by your own creativity?
  •  Does it feel like an indulgence? In a world that values the unit price of a commodity over and above fulfilment and passion, creativity can often get lost due to being seen as something that isn’t ‘proper’ work.
  • Are your goals unrealistic? Are you trying to write a book that covers every possible aspect of your subject so you feel overwhelmed? Consider this - maybe you have 3, 4 or even 5 books on that one area or story alone.
  • Is procrastinating an opportunity to repeat a self-destructive behaviour pattern that allows you to continue beating yourself up about not finishing anything/creating anything/not being good enough?

Be honest with yourself, use a journal to write down your private thoughts and you may find some interesting answers. Reaffirm that you are choosing to do this, it is your choice and not something that anyone is ‘making’ you do (just in case your procrastination comes from the rebellious part of you!). I wholeheartedly believe that self-exploration, along with reading and journaling, is a vital part of writing, for it is in this that we find the answers we need to focus and deliver our message in our writing, whatever that may be.
And for those really stuck moments where you can’t even go near your project, write about something else so that you can rebuild/gain confidence and give y
ourself the chance to improve by making sure you practise.

  • Write about the fact that you can’t write
  • Write about what stops you and why, and do so with humour. Find yourself funny!
  • Write about what life will look like when you have finished writing
  • Write an Amazon review of your unwritten book and stick it on the fridge 
  •   Write a letter to yourself telling yourself why you are allowed to write

If you are compelled to write then you may as well just get on with it because at the end of the day, the writer within you will eventually scream at you “WRITE” if you keep ignoring it …happy writing!

Lisa Cherry was born in 1970 in a home for unmarried mothers in Wrexham, UK. A turbulent adolescence of foster homes, children's homes and a 2 year spell of homelessness culminated in an eventual arrival at an AA meeting at the age of 20. Over twenty years of Sobriety and Recovery, a busy career spent working with young people, families and individuals in distress in a variety of settings led to her writing her first book Soul Journey. Lisa lives in Oxfordshire with her two children running workshops for writers nationally and also in Europe, working with young people/students running personal development programmes, working with individuals wanting to break through their own barriers and is also nearing publication of her second book The Brightness Of Stars.

You can connect with Lisa on:

And now we get to the prize part of this post!  Everyone who is signed up for ChaBooCha and also comments on this post by noon GMT on the 18th of March will get one entry into the drawing for "How to Stop Staring At A Blank Page and Start Writing: The Writer's Guide To Starting Your First Writing Project" by Lisa Cherry.
Now, I understand that, as so many ChaBooCha members already buy writing books, some of you might already have the books offered as prizes during this challenge. Because of this, if you are drawn by the random number selector as a winner for this prize, and you already have the book, you can do one of two things; you can choose to give the book as a gift to someone else in the challenge, either anonymously or with your name attached and it will be sent directly to them instead of you OR you can choose ONE of the following two things from the Chapter Book Challenge 2013 shop.


  1. Sometimes a walk outside is just what I need to shake my thoughts loose and on the page.
    Also, a deadline. I definitely get stuff on the page when it's for a community newspaper and it's due at a specific time (say, 5 pm tomorrow night).... and that has led me to set other deadlines for myself:
    ~ get a chapter drafted in two days or
    ~write a storyboard/outline for a book or
    ~ spend 2 hours collecting information on a specific aspect of research I need...
    ~ or get a book review posted in the next hour...

  2. wow... Lisa...i take my hat off to you! Great post. I get nervous every time i begin a new chapter, but once i actually start typing, away i go. it is like sometimes i get scared to do it. Crazy! I find once im a few chapters in, then the characters are telling me the story, so it isnt a problem anymore ;)
    Thank you.

  3. Great tips Lisa :) I love these challenges as it gives me a deadline... and I seem to work best to that.

  4. Great post Lisa.

    I think setting deadlines is a good idea. While writing time needs to be established, and respected, I do think writers need to make sure there’s some kind of fun, pointless activity going on as well. If you don’t give yourself time to play I think it really impacts imagination and motivation.

  5. I liked your soul searching questions, they made a lot of sense. And though writing a journal is not quite my thing, I love the idea of the Amazon reviews of my unwritten books and WIP covering the fridge.

  6. Great post Lisa - the art of procrastination, we are all so good at it. I love to do these challenges because it creates the habit of writing. Which forces you to find the time!

  7. Some more great tips there Sue and Kelly.... :0)

  8. Thanks Melissa, Gemma, Yvonne and Ghostsnapped....deadlines, challenges and accountability seem to be a recurrent theme... :0)

  9. Great post! Finding time to write isn't always easy but if we want to be writers, we have to!

  10. This is awesome. I LOVE the idea of writing an Amazon review even before I have finished the book!

  11. Okay, Lisa you've been in my journal haven't you? I am a procrastinator. In fact, I am the reigning sovereign of the Kingdom of Procrastination. However, this post has equipped me with some really good tools to overcome that in my writing, in particular. I am so glad I stopped by to read this. Thank you very much, Lisa!

  12. Excellent post. I believe we find time for whatever it is we want to do. If we want to write bad enough, we will make the time to do so.

  13. I enjoyed reading about your past and how far you have come. I had a rough start myself and I started to write couple years ago but now I am stopped. I have a relationship that has been challenging for me and it seems to have caused me so much sadness, I am pleased to read all the enthusiasm from your followers and I am going to write. I can't let him control me like I have been letting him I am still in the relationship for now.. Thanks

  14. Hi everyone...I've just checked back into here and seen all these brilliant comments. I love reading about all of your journeys not only in your writing but also in how you arrived at your writing....I love that! x