Break out of a slump: What 14 years of struggle has taught me
I’m grappling with my writing process, and I just can’t break free. I looked in my past to find the tools to overcome.
I’m knee-deep in a slump. I’m grappling with my writing process, and I just can’t break free. I looked in my past to find the tools to overcome. Over 14 years of struggle, I’ve learned a thing or two about resilience.
“The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost
I struggle with my goals just like you. My struggle bus is as yellow as the rest of them. But, I have struggled since 2006. My nickname is resilience.
What’s weird is I have been writing a reasonable amount. I left my pieces incomplete and unpublished.
For example, I binged on writing about financial health. One piece was about financial literacy and whether it is a cure for poverty. Another blog discussed capitalism and race. Both articles lay dormant in an unpublished state.
How have I gotten out of the slump? I’m not sure that I have. But I have to. I publish this piece as my first attempt at climbing out of the hole.
I motivated myself by remembering why I write. I love to help people. I love to share my story to help you all avoid my mistakes.
Above all else, I want to help people make something of themselves. Your success requires self-esteem and self-confidence. You need to be proud of what you’ve achieved in this life. That brings true happiness.
I want to be a mentor for those who didn’t grow up with mentors. I want to be the father for those who didn’t have a father figure. I want to be the teacher for those who learned from terrible teachers.
The path to those goals is ugly. I can’t write groundbreaking articles on every attempt. No piece is perfect.
I’m still learning how to get out of my way. I read The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and Stephen King’s On Writing. The lessons in those books have handcuffed me. Contemplation has imprisoned me, but I’m working towards breaking free.
When I was writing before, it felt like swimming in a cool lake on a hot summer day. The crystal clear waters brought serenity and isolation from my typical overthinking ways.
Now grammar, usage, and paragraph structure bounce around like silt. I can’t see 3 feet in front of me. My mind is murky, and writing now provokes suffocating anxiety.
My anxiety broke during an impromptu phone call with my sister. I was able to voice some ideas, which helped me deconstruct my barriers. In school, I’d call my parents in desperation. Those conversations often began with tears but ended with determination and promise.
One fix is that I need to set small goals and develop a system. I preach this all the time in my writing, but most in the past, I anticipated writing so much that I didn’t need to schedule time. However, now I suffer from a lack of a system.
Before, I could write the draft, edit, publish, and post to social media all on the same day. There’s no way I can accomplish all that mid-slump. In the worst days of this slump, I dreaded writing and did nothing. I’ll need to schedule time on different days for each of those tasks.
I will revisit the lessons from Strunk and King with courage. I refuse to let fear hinder my progress. Just like with biochemistry, focus and time will get me through.
As a simple reminder, here are your doctor’s orders:
When you get into a rut, remind yourself of your big why.
Reach out to people who have helped you get where you are. They will remind you of what you have to offer, and they are great sounding boards.
Spend extra time with challenging tasks. Don’t avoid them; dig in deeper.
Develop a system or a schedule. Dedicate specific times to work.
Take small steps towards getting back on track. Set small goals.
Are you a recent graduate? Looking for a career change? Or are you working up the courage to start your side gig? Break through barriers with my FREE E-BOOK, ATYPICAL HABITS, ATYPICAL SUCCESS. You will learn how to get inspired and run head-first toward your goals.
Self-improvement is a life-style. If you’re at a roadblock in life or you just want to be happier, subscribe to my newsletter at The Doctor’s Orders for a new perspective on self-improvement. Think of it as common sense on steroids.
Until next time my people. Hopefully, it won’t be so long.