Day 7 – Bad Habits that Slow Down Your Writing

Sometimes we can get into some less than productive habits that can keep us from being efficient family history writers.  Often these habits become excuses for not making any progress.


 Waiting for Inspiration

Many of us take our cues from writers we see in movies. The writer staring at the computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike. But what we have to remember is that writing is a craft that we must practice. Great stories don’t just appear on the page through inspiration. They come through hard work. We can’t wait for that story to happen. We need to write, we need to practice. The more we practice the better we become, the better our stories become. So don’t wait for inspiration to write your family history stories. Just write.


Stopping to Research

As you start writing it will become more evident that you might need a little more research. Especially, when it comes to social history to fill in the details and description of your story.  Many writers fall into the trap of stopping in the middle of their writing session to research. Don’t do this. Instead, place a marker in your writing to indicate that more details are required. Add the research to a research list you keep handy while you are writing. And then keep writing. Keep your writing and research as separate tasks. I like to write in the morning and research in the evening.


Seeking Perfection

Did you spend a lot of time this past week rewriting a single sentence or paragraph? A first draft is not supposed to be perfect, not even close. It’s about getting down the story. The perfect sentences and paragraphs happen in the rewrites. The first draft is about getting the big story down and producing pages, words, not rewriting them.


Giving in to Self-Doubt and Fear

Not a writer in the world that doesn’t experience self-doubt and fear. As writers, we all doubt whether we are good enough. We also have the fear of failure. It’s usually these thoughts that drive our excuses for not writing. I know the excuses because I used to make them.

  • Work was too stressful, I don’t want to thin about anything.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep last night.
  • The children, or the cat or your spouse needs some attention.
  • I have a tone of laundry to do.
  • I need to clean the house.

Excuses for not being good enough is a mindset. Fear of failure is a mindset. Ask yourself when you would rather be doing the laundry than writing why are you really procrastinating on the writing?

Writing is a learned skill. Sure not denying some have a more natural talent than others. But you can do this.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

You are on your own journey. Trust that journey will get you to where you need to go.

Some of our greatest growth comes in the form of failure. But maybe you won’t fail. Ever think of that.


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