How do you cure writer's block? Embrace failure.
How do you cure writer's block when you're afraid of failure? First, find out why you're afraid to fail.
As a soul-centered writer, the fear of failure is inevitable. My work is to cultivate life-changing content in a market saturated with people striving for the same goal. It's easy to get caught up in comparisons and feel like I'm constantly falling short. Debilitating thoughts like these have swarmed through my mind more often than I'd care to admit:
That person is so much more successful than me.
His content is getting SO many likes on social media—I'll never be that popular.
I'm just not enough.
All of these thoughts point to the fear of being unworthy, which is why I'm really afraid to fail. When I give into this fear, I experience writer's block. I over-edit my writing, I lose productivity, and my content feels inauthentic. Most of the clients I work with experience some level of insecurity about their value as writers and as human beings. To tap into the core limiting belief underlying your own fear of failure, write freely on the following prompt and see what patterns emerge. These patterns can help point to the root cause of your fear:
I am afraid to fail in my writing because __.
Don't let your fear of failure discourage you. You can still write authentic, impactful content in spite of it. Also, becoming aware of your fear and its effects will help you work through it, dissolve writer's block, and reap the benefits of failure.
Why is the fear of failure so crippling to soul-centered writers?
Our culture treats failure the same way it treats being overweight: with shame. To avoid gaining weight as a teen, I starved myself, enslaved by the belief that being thin would make me worthy. I eventually looked nothing like my authentic self. Then, I wondered what I did wrong and why I felt more ashamed of my body than when I'd started restricting my diet.
Similarly, when we try to avoid failure in our writing, we hope to convince ourselves that we're worthy—and we lose our authenticity. Striving for perfection kills what we want the most: a true message that feeds us and also resonates with our audience.
Think about the thousands, if not millions, of social media profiles that depict people and brands as unfailingly positive and perfect. Even if the core message of the profiles resonates, they lack lasting impact because perfection is inauthentic: it doesn't reflect a real, soulful human experience, which is what soul-centered writing is all about.
On the other hand, spiritual entrepreneurs like Brené Brown and Eckhart Tolle depict both the light and shadow of their experiences—including their failures—embracing candor over perfection. Both individuals have impacted millions of people across the world with their messages, not least because of their genuine presence.
How do you cure writer's block by embracing failure?
Failure invites us to cultivate self-worth as writers and as human beings. When we allow ourselves to fail, we learn to derive our self-worth from who we are and what we value—not what we achieve.
I have made it a life-long practice to ask myself what defines me and what nourishes me as a human being. I allow my answers to infuse my work, life, and words until the fear of failure no longer blocks me from writing. As a result of this practice, I have produced a higher volume of successful writing than ever before. I'm also building a growing number of clients and readers who report feeling deeply connected to me and my message.
Focusing on the value that comes from within has allowed me to achieve more success with my writing and my business.
The more you focus on your innate sense of self-worth, the more failure becomes your ally—and not your enemy.
To embrace failure and cure writer's block, take consistent actions with your writing and your relationships that strengthen your self-worth.
Write freely every day on whatever inspires you in the moment. Set a timer for an amount of time that you know you can keep writing without stopping. Don't think and don't stop until the timer goes off. Just keep your hand moving. Your words will be far from perfect—but, they will be rich and alive with value you wouldn't have discovered had you let the fear of failure drive your writing to a halt.
Express gratitude for what you have, do, and are. The more you acknowledge what's going well in your life—in and beyond your writing—the more receptive you will become to success. Be sure to recognize how you've added value to your day, even if it's as simple as smiling at a stranger. Your grateful attitude will help you write with resilience and see failure as an opportunity for growth, instead of an obstacle.
Learn how to reframe limiting beliefs you have about failure. Consider enrolling my free course (below) to help you slay writer's block. In it, you work through limiting beliefs you have about failure so you can slay writer's block. You'll also get a writing prompt to help you use failure to your advantage.
"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried." - Stephen McCranie
How do you cure writer's block if you allow fear of failure to stop you from even beginning to write? Authentic, impactful writing demands consistent failure. The more often you write, the more you will fall short of expectations and goals that likely didn't serve you in the first place. Let your newfound self-awareness and self-worth inspire you to keep failing and keep surrendering to the content you're called to create.