5 Steps to Overcoming Writer Regression

Editor’s note: this post was originally featured on this blog in 2011. New posts on the C2C will return on January 6th, 2014.

We’ve all had those moments when we’ve felt like we’re taking two steps back, instead of one step forward.

For example: you might find that you’ve been loyal to a writing schedule for a whole year and, suddenly, you don’t want to write anymore. You can write, you love to write, but you just don’t want to. So you avoid it. You procrastinate. Or you stop putting in the same amount of effort into your writing that you once did. Nowadays, you’re struggling so much that you can’t help but ask yourself:

“How did this happen? I used to be so great at all of this! Now why does it feel like I’m at ‘square one’ all over again? What’s happening?”

Answer:  You’re regressing.

Regression is probably one of the most frustrating roadblocks in the writing process, because no one wants to feel as if they haven’t made any progress.

Except, of course, for your inner saboteur.

You see, your inner saboteur loves to use your moment of regression as undeniable proof that He was right all along:  you put yourself out there by writing this book or article–something He warned you not to do–and now you’re hurting from it. You’re crawling back to Him on your hands and knees, and all He does is pat your on your head and say:

“I told you so.”

Then your inner saboteur starts to rattle off His old, worn-out ideas that you’ve heard a million times before–ideas that you already know are bad for you, but for some reason they’re starting to sound good again. Bad ideas like:

“Close yourself off. Give up, because it’s just gonna hurt you in the end. You won’t succeed, so take the easy way out. Stop writing because it’ll never get done.”

Now, I know these ideas may sound enticing to you right now, but you gotta stay strong. You can’t let your inner saboteur win.

His ideas may sound nice, but that’s only because these ideas are comfortable to you, they’re familiar. But remember: they are still bad ideas. They haven’t worked for you in the past, and they won’t work for you now.

If you feel like you’re regressing, your first job is to remember who your inner saboteur is and what He is after. Your inner saboteur is that inner voice that says He’s looking after you, but is really only setting you up for failure. How does he set you up to fail? By making sure you don’t even try in the first place. What a jerk, huh?

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