“I hate writing.”
I was surprised, to say the least, when I heard this statement from my client.
After all, she’s not only a gifted educator and sought-after expert in a cutting-edge field, she’s also the author of a book that has helped many parents navigate the complicated web of education for twice-exceptional children.
Not to mention that I knew firsthand she was actually a gifted writer. By the time she sat in a session with me and spoke these words, I’d been following Jade’s blog and her social media accounts for several months and was continually blown away by her beautifully written and insightful posts.
Yet there it was. She would rather do almost anything else other than write. (Maybe you relate?)
So why was she sitting in a writing coaching session with me? She had an opportunity to deliver a speech about her greatest passion, her work with neurodivergent learners.
She wanted to write something that would not only elucidate this complex discipline, but would also enroll others and get them excited about the field.
And knowing she had to write in order to get the speech was making her sick to her stomach.
The Pressure We Put on Ourselves
This wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone say they hated writing. I actually hear this sentiment a lot. Sometimes it sounds just like that.
Sometimes it sounds like, “I suck at writing,” or “I’ve never been good at writing,” or “I’m not a writer.”
And no matter how many times I hear it, it always gets me.
Because I know without a doubt that behind that statement is a story. A story of writing pain.
Sometimes it’s a family dynamic: “My sister is the writer, not me.”
Sometimes it’s pressure from self or others, thinking that the first draft has to be perfect. Many of us are never taught that first drafts are meant to be messy. We judge our first draft based on our imagining of what we want the final draft to look like.
Sometimes this statement comes from a trauma or a shaming experience. I’ve worked with clients who told me they couldn’t write, and when we got to talking more, they ended up telling me it was a comment from an elementary school teacher that made them think that.
Just imagine being a successful business owner and still carrying around the negative judgments someone had about you when you were seven or eight years old. It happens to a lot of us and is nothing to be embarrassed about.
But it’s also nothing to let have power over you.
Going It Alone
As soon as Jade told me she hated writing, I asked her to tell me about what it was like to write her book. She walked me through her process, and I listened to a story I’ve heard as many times as I’ve heard “I hate writing.“ Basically, she’d done it all on her own, figuring out the process as she went. It was like building the plane as you’re flying it.
No wonder it was such a difficult and unpleasant experience!
Imagine trying to execute a complicated recipe with nothing to go on but a picture of the completed dish and your own willpower.
We all know what a finished book or blog post or essay or speech looks like. But the process that goes into creating any of those is far from obvious.
Trying to create your own writing process—how you’ll gather your thoughts; how you’ll organize them and decide which ones to use; how you’ll get through the entire first draft; how you’ll refine and revise that draft and finally polish into a finished version that makes you proud—is a daunting task.
It makes perfect sense if you hate doing it on your own.
I would hate training for the Olympics alone. Or for a marathon. OK, let’s be honest. I would be miserable training for a 5K alone. I would have no clue where to begin or how long it would take. I would likely give up because I would have no one to tell me whether I was doing it right or making progress.
After Jade and I talked about her book and I began pointing out some clues I was observing about her writing process, we began experimenting.
We tried different approaches to her speech, pausing to see what was working and what felt comfortable.
She had no shortage of brilliant ideas, so I just typed them all into our notes as she talked me through them. Then she sifted back through them and started seeing connections and inspiration.
All of a sudden she shouted, “This is fun!”
I beamed. That’s the moment I had been waiting for.
What I’d done with Jade felt like magic to her, but it’s actually something so simple that you can do it for yourself.
By asking her questions and giving her space to talk about her ideas, I took the pressure off. Instead of writing, which was an activity that felt so heavy to her, she was simply explaining, an activity that came very naturally to her as an educator and advocate.
As she heard what she was saying—and saw her ideas populate the page—she could easily make connections and see the bigger picture.
This is what happens when you go from “I’m writing” to “I’m simply talking.”
You can create this magic for yourself by speaking your ideas into a voice memo app and then transcribing them into a word processing software. Or you can use voice-to-text software to capture your ideas directly on the page.
This “talking to write” is something that I do with all of my clients. Even those who love writing find it extremely helpful. Because you can tap into your best ideas with zero pressure about formulating interesting sentences or thinking about where the comma goes.
It truly is a magical way to access your deepest wisdom and creativity.
Telling a New Story
Sharing your ideas and inspiring others doesn’t have to suck. It can actually be a joyful experience. The key is to give yourself the expansive space to explore your ideas.
Then, you need to identify and use the process that works for you in order to translate those ideas into first an outline, then a first draft, then a final draft.
This is why I’m committed to giving writers both the freedom and the guidance to explore and develop their own process.
If you’re ready to let go of the frustration of your best ideas being trapped inside you, I’d love to help you find your own writing magic. Schedule a free no-obligation consultation and I’ll help you get clear on your next steps for sharing the message that’s in your heart.
By the way… Jade’s speech turned out brilliant. And she told me that when she delivered it, she received enormous accolades.
But more importantly, she’s still writing. She and I even co-authored this book, combining our complementary expertise. She blogs regularly and writes articles for other publications.
In addition, she teaches students at her microschool to embrace writing. She creates the space for them to discover their own process and learn to like writing on their own terms.
And for me, that is the happiest outcome of all. That means fewer young people growing up thinking they have to figure it all out alone. And that means fewer adults saying, “I hate writing.”