When writer Felicity Hayes-McCoy senses a block in her focus while writing, she checks in with her body by asking herself, “What are my toes doing?” If she discovers her toes are tense or clenched, she realizes she is writing from a place of fight-or-flight. Tense toes indicate that a writer has given too much power to the rules of writing.
A strict adherence to the rules of writing without the freedom to explore may contribute to a case of writer’s block. Writing isn’t about getting it right or trying harder. Instead, Felicity recommends writers try soft instead.
Be Generous With Yourself
Trying soft, or being kind to yourself as a writer, is an act of generosity to your inner artist. Being kind to ourselves allows us to approach our work with reverence for ourselves and for the work by eliminating the pressure we may feel as we write. As we grow in our craft, we may allow fear, envy, competition, or a fixed mindset to dominate our thoughts, leading to circumstances in which we find it difficult to create.
When we stop focusing on the hard-and-fast rules of writing, we give ourselves permission to find the ways in which we work best. We unclench our bodies and our brains, and we allow the messages we want to share to take center stage.
Be Generous With the Work
When hope*writers co-founder and author Emily P. Freeman began to flesh out ideas around the topic of decision-making, she believed the idea would be born in book form. Emily wrestled with the work for some time, initially thinking that the words were meant for readers. When she couldn’t wrangle the words into chapters, she gave herself permission to consider a different format.
When she was generous with herself and her work by putting aside what she “should” do as an author, she realized the words weren’t meant for pages, they were meant for a podcast. Her podcast is the result of taking a generous approach to herself, her ideas, and the people who would engage with them by eliminating what “should” be and asking what could be instead.
Be Generous With the Reader
Asking yourself what could be is a great first step when you feel stuck in your writing. By extending generosity to yourself as a content creator, you are then able to serve your reader in more authentic and generous ways.
Once we serve ourselves and the work, our responsibility naturally shifts to the reader. How are we generous with our readers? Felicity suggests we ask more than we tell our audience, particularly on social media.
The generous writer is responsible for completing the work, noting their own response to it, and inviting readers into conversation with it. When readers respond to our generosity by engaging with our words, it completes the circle of creativity.
Have you been hyper-focused on the rules of writing while your creativity suffers? Felicity talks about creativity, writing fiction, marketing, and much more with hope*writers. Click here for free access to our entire conversation and take one step towards balancing the art of writing with the business of publishing.