Writing is weird. It’s weird because in order to do it (well) you need long stretches of uninterrupted time. But when you get those long stretches of uninterrupted time, you go into a mental mind-fuckery of all the reasons why you can’t possibly write.
And I blame Lizzy.
Lizzy is the (not so) lovable asshole who lives in your head. I named her after the Lizard Brain, which is a metaphor we’re going to use to refer to fear. Specifically, the primal fear that everyone hates you, you’re a talentless hack, and if you do ANYTHING you’ll be discarded and left to die alone in the Sahara.
What’s particularly infuriating about Lizzy is she never has anything new to say (“Much like your manuscript, Margo” GDIT LIZZY GO AWAY I’M WRITING AN EMAIL). She says the same three things every time you sit down to write:
- You’re not good enough. No one wants to read this garbage. You’re just going to embarrass yourself.
- Your ideas are terrible. Stupid. Derivative. Unoriginal. Boring. You have nothing interesting to say.
- You’re not qualified. Stick to what you know, which is nothing. You know nothing, Jon Snow. Just stop trying.
I’ve become intimately familiar with Lizzy, some might say, BFFAEAE. And I’ve learned a few things about how you get rid of her that I think might be useful if you’re stuck in your writing and need Lizzy to GTFO.
It starts with a lesson from renown author Steven Pressfield, who calls Lizzy “resistance.” He says: “Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” And he is correct.
Mr. Pressfield wrote several books on how to defeat Lizzy that all revolve around a central thesis: Do the work.
Lizzy cannot handle your getting to work. If you actually write words on a page, she will lose her damn mind. She goes into a panic state and eventually implodes.
Lizzy’s biggest fear is the completion of a shitty first draft. She’ll come back later, for your next draft, but the process of defusing her the is always the same:
2. Write more
3. Write terribly
4. Finish what you’re working on
5. Show up the next day and write again
6. Keep writing
Implementing this 6-step Lizard Brain Deactivation Protocol is some of the hardest work you will do in your life (and I’m saying that having also been through childbirth). And it’s why I created Ignition: the one-month writing accountability group for people who want to get their writing done.
Ignition is the online writing group designed to help you punch your lizard brain in the face.
My goal with Ignition is to get the voices in your head telling you you’re not cut out for this to politely STFU. And the way we’re going to do that is by WRITING. Consistently.
For details on how Ignition works, when it starts, and why you should join, click here.