We have doubts about ourselves and our abilities sometimes. They can come from a number of sources either internally or externally.
I’ve been working on independently publishing my first book for close to two years. It isn’t that the book is mammoth and has gone through several edits and revisions. It’s a book of roughly 100 pages, and I could have easily been done with it a year ago.
But something was holding me back.
Or rather, someone.
I have been holding myself back from finishing this book for a little over a year. My editor did her job offering feedback and editing TWO rounds. My artist did her job of bringing to life the vision I had for the cover.
They both did their jobs, and yet…
I have asked myself over and over, “Why haven’t you just finished this book and published it already?”
And my answers always come in a steady flow of excuses. We have to get the house ready to sell, we have to pack to move, we have to unpack and settle into our new apartment, I have to get comfortable in my new job, I need to interview for different jobs since this one wasn’t what I had hoped, I now need to focus on my new job starting, I have to get back into shape, I need to have at least three hours so that I can concentrate on what I want to accomplish with the book today, and the list goes on.
Exhausted from my mountain of excuses?
Yeah, me too.
That is exactly when the scale tipped. I finally got fed up with myself and my excuses and got down to work.
One thing that clicked was to zone in on what I wanted to do during my writing blocks. Previously I simply blocked off an hour or so and just wrote “writing block.” Since I wasn’t specific, I could easily skip the time since I didn’t have a plan anyway. Today my writing block looked like this:
*Revise last essay
*Write acknowledgement section
*Write ‘about the author’ section (rough draft)
*Work on the start of a blog post on my challenges
When I finish this post, I will have all four checked off.
I got serious and zoned in on precisely what I wanted to accomplish and that has made the difference for me.
Am I still nervous and excited about independently publishing my first book? Do I still have some doubts?
Sure, but as long as I continue to knock chunks off a little at a time and am specific with how I’m spending my time it is becoming so much more manageable.
1. Look at the big picture. — What is it you want to accomplish?
For me, it is to independently publish my first book. Think about what it is that you really want to do and then write it down. Make a contract with yourself.
2. Give yourself a timeline. — When do you want to complete the project?
While I am way over my deadline, I finally got serious by putting together a spreadsheet of what I had left to do and then I assigned myself tasks each day until the book launches.
3. Make an appointment and then keep it. — When can you commit to working on the project each day?
It doesn’t have to be a two or three hour blocks of time. Many of us don’t have that luxury. It might be 15–20 minute chunks but make them intentional. When the time is up, write yourself a note so you know exactly where to pick up from where you left off on the project.
4. Celebrate along the way. — What can you do for yourself to stay motivated?
Treat yourself along the way. When you reach a milestone, take a bubble bath, go out for a cup of coffee, read for 30 minutes, go out for appetizers with a friend or significant other, etc. You don’t have to spend money but you can if that’s how you keep yourself going.
5. Reflect when it’s done. — What did you learn from the experience and what adjustments will you make in the future?
This is the critical piece. We often finish one project and move on to the next one without revisiting what made it a successful endeavor or perhaps how it could have been more successful. Take some time to enjoy the accomplishment as well. You did it!
The next time you wonder whether you have what it takes, the overwhelming answer is, “Of course you do!” Now go out and do it!
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.