George Wicker UK copywriter

3 Kinds of Bad Thinking

We writers can come up with any number of reasons to put off writing...

We writers can come up with any number of reasons to put off writing.

If you're scribbling in your spare time there's your real job, the work you get paid for. The last thing you want to do when you get back from the office is to open the laptop and start editing a novel.

Then there's the small matter of family, who would love you to succeed but don't want you to stop making lunch or decorating the bedroom to do it.

Hot on the heels of these come your hobbies - well, a person has to relax sometime, whether it's playing Wii golf, knitting a carpet or landscaping the garden.

Then There's Thinking

Now there are different types of thinking. I speak from experience because I've done most. And it's not as if it's a bad thing to do - so far it's got the human race right up the evolutionary ladder to its present planet-damaging position.

But not all thinking is beneficial.

As far as writing goes, it's just as much an impediment to action as watching TV or sleeping. So here are the 3 types of thinking that are not going to help you get the blog post written, or that brilliant novel published.

Procrastination

The one most writers are prone to. I call this thinking about doing. Instead of writing, promoting, sending those letters off to the publisher, hounding your agent for a new contract (I wish), you are just putting it off by thinking about it.

Try doing something instead.

That's right, sit down and get whatever's on your mind out of the way now! I guarantee you'll feel a lot better about things afterwards.

Overthinking

This is the second sort of brain work to avoid. Wondering about the world, its origin, meaning of life etc. Don't do it. Marvel if you will at the complexity of the world, the universe, the advances in scientific understanding. But don’t try to understand it. Or even wonder where you fit in.

And anyway, I'm doing plenty of overthinking for all of us.

Delusional thinking

Lastly comes thinking about fame - delusional thinking. This is what drives countless ordinary folk to attend auditions for celebrity talent shows. Of course it's a good idea to have an idea where you want to get to, but do you need to prostrate yourself in front of Simon Cowell to do it?

Focus on small goals

Instead, set yourself some attainable goals. You want to write a novel? First join a local writers' group. Take your work along and get some feedback on it.

You may realise you're nowhere near as good as you thought.

But don't give up. The reality is, not one successful author got there by chance. All of them dedicated many hours and years to writing. Not thinking about writing, but getting the words on paper or into a computer.

And they never stopped learning. So break your path to fame into manageable chunks. Focus on the first step ahead. You think you should do a course on creative writing? Book one up. Or perhaps spend a week researching characters and location.

Place to write? Build an insulated shed at the bottom of the garden. Philip Pullman, Dylan Thomas and who knows how many others have done the same thing.

By ticking off the obstacles and targets you've set yourself the final goal will get ever nearer.

It just may not be as soon as you hoped