How I Got Over Writer's Block #6: Don't Do It for the Applause, Applause, Applause...

Image Credit: Artspace

How I Got Over Writer's Block is a series of posts where I share the ways I changed my approach to the writing process in order to make it easier to actually sit down and do the work.

By re-framing key elements in the creative process, I was able to start writing and publishing consistently.


In my first post of the series, I outlined how to overcome Resistance (that thing that stops you from sitting down to do your work) by simply learning to Touch the Keys (finding the tiniest task that you can commit to doing every day).

In my second post, I talked about how not to Break the Chain and how to Celebrate (aka - build consistency through the use of positive reinforcement).

In my third post, I talked about how to find YOUR best time to do the work.

In my fourth post, I talked about Lowering the Bar for each writing session, and how the 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle) can help you let go of perfectionism.

In my fifth post, I talked about using Self-Knowledge to commit to a process that will work for you, and Letting Go of any Expectations other than just showing up.

Image Credit: Fadi Xd on Unsplash

This is the sixth and final post, and possibly the most important one, because it gets to the heart of the matter (literally).

Do the work because you love it.

Write because you have to write.

Write because it's who you are.

Never, ever, do it for any other reason.

Lady Gaga sang "I live for the applause, applause applause...the way that you cheer and scream for me...the applause, applause applause." 

If you're writing with thoughts of applause, it will stifle your creative process as you mentally edit and re-edit your work with ideas about how it might be received.

Sitting down to write can't be based on the recognition you hope to receive. 

Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting laid, or making friends.
In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.
It’s about getting up, getting happy, okay?
Getting happy.

For as long as I focused on the outcome of my work - other people's reactions to it by way of likes, shares, and comments - I was unable to do the work.

It's only when I fell in love with the process that writing became easier.

And falling in love with the process is something that I have to do again and again because I get distracted by hustle culture which is entirely focused on the results of the work - what you can get as a result of what you did.

I've never read one article by a 'hustler' that even skirted the subject of doing the work because you love it, because it makes you - the creator - happy and fulfilled.

It's all about stats, numbers, money, and clicks - PANDERING FOR VIEWS.

For a long time, I didn't have the space to create because I was focused on pleasing others. 

But we can't create anything beautiful, real, and authentic from a place of concern about the opinion of others, because worrying about what others think comes from the ego, and creativity comes from the flow state; the two don't exist in the same space.

As long as we're in one, there's no space for the other.

When we try to sing or write or dance from the ego, we fall on our face.
It is impossible to sing or write or dance from the ego.

Own your identity as a writer or creative person.


You are what you say you are because you do the work - not because of the external validation you have or have not received.

I am a writer because I write. You are a painter because you paint.

We have a right to own the label by virtue of the fact that we show up and do the thing, not because the world has blessed our doing of the thing (by publishing it or hanging it in a gallery).

Take Banksy - he is an artist and I don't think anyone could deny that. But he is what he is because he does what he does. He has been acknowledged by the world, but that was never his driving force. His success is the result of him being himself. He did what he did because he had to do it.

Do what you're going to do because it's who you are - because if you didn't, there would be something in you that is unfulfilled by the not doing of the thing.

It's a commonplace that artists work to free themselves from pain.
The irritation of the grain of sand compels the oyster to produce a pearl.

Play to keep playing. Each step is movement on a journey that we can only hope will continue.

The infinite game has no winners or losers, no time clock or scoreboard. It is simply a chance to trust ourselves enough to participate.

From the very beginning almost I was deeply aware that there is no goal.

I never hope to embrace the whole, but merely to give in each separate fragment, each work, the feeling of the whole as I go on, because I am digging deeper and deeper into life, digging deeper and deeper into past and future.

With the endless burrowing a certitude develops which is greater than faith or belief. I become more and more indifferent to my fate, as writer, and more and more certain of my destiny as a man.

To recap:

Step 1 is overcoming Resistance by learning to Touch the Keys.

Step 2 is using Touch the Keys to avoid Breaking the Chain, and to Celebrate every time you add to the Chain.

Step 3 is finding the YOUR Best Time of day to Touch the Keys.

Step 4 is Lowering the Bar on your expectations for output in order to make it easier for you sit down and Touch the Keys.

Step 5 is about using Self-Knowledge to commit to a process that will work for you, and Letting Go of any Expectations other than just showing up.

Step 6 - the final step - is about doing the work for no other reason than because you LOVE doing it - because it's WHO YOU ARE.

That's it.

So...write on. :)

Image Credit: Yannick Pulver on Unsplash


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