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10 Things to Start, and One Thing to Stop

I can’t wait to see what you recommend a writer “should stop in order to start” writing. I just hope its not one of my darlings.

This wonderful comment from ellanbethia has been rumbling at the back of my mind since the launch of the start theme at the beginning of this month.

Because, guess what?

I’m in no position to tell you what you should stop in order to start… and am certainly not going to recommend killing  any of your darlings ;-)

I’m going to focus instead on 10 things you might want to start:

1. Making time for the story you really need to tell

2. Letting go of what you know to be holding you back

3. Believing that you are creative

4. Recognising the sound of your own writing voice

5. Listening to the pulse of your words

6. Shedding limiting beliefs

7. Noticing how resistance generates distractions

8. Tuning into lessons from the natural world

9. Trusting your own instinct

10. Letting go and letting flow

And the one thing to stop?

Hanging on to other people’s advice :-)

Which means I leave it entirely up to you what you do about 1 through to 10 ;-)

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  1. Karen Swim says:

    Joanna, you have this knack for reading my heart and posting it on your blog. For the past couple of weeks, #1 (making time for the story you need to tell) has been nagging at me, which led me to realization about #7 (distractions) and had me wrestling with #s 9 and 10! So today, letting of of limiting beliefs, and paying attention to the story I really do need to tell. Big massive hugs for helping me once again! xoxo
    .-= Karen Swim´s last blog ..Unleash Your Passion for a Perfect Performance =-.

  2. Christopher says:

    Wonderful post Joanna, thank you! #10 is the big one for me, I just can’t let go and let the words flow out of me. Part of that reason is my getting distracted too easily.


    In fact, I should be writing right now! Oh well, better distracted by this blog than Twitter or Facebook or stupid YouTube videos…

    Thanks again for the article :)
    .-= Christopher ´s last blog ..Stop all the Clocks… =-.

  3. Lori Hoeck says:

    It always amazes me that you present writing as something arising from our hearts and inner landscape, not just from our heads or to fit another person’s definition.
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..Ebook on narcissism is narcissists’ Kryptonite =-.

  4. Charlotte Rains Dixon says:

    #1 is the most important one for me-telling stories takes time, and I need to make more of it for the story that I want to tell. Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Charlotte Rains Dixon´s last blog ..Whole Abundance =-.

  5. Create Ambience For Your Writing Sessions : Becoming A Writer - Seriously says:

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  6. Heather Kephart says:

    Fabulous post! I never really thought about how resistance might generate distractions, but it makes perfect sense. Lots to ruminate on today. :)
    .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Around the New House by Joe Joe =-.

  7. Conor
    Twitter: ebbstachio


    Love it, I simply love it :)

    Thank you.


  8. Hilary says:

    Hi Joanna .. great points .. just start writing .. perhaps write a letter to someone dear (elderly perhaps) .. just explaining what you want to write about and why .. it doesn’t need to be all about your writing, but you’ll let the ideas, the concepts, the storyline mull around your head as you put them into that letter. Then you’ll filter .. but

    It’s starting and letting the ideas flow, as you say.

    Thanks - Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Wigmaker, “Cottonpolis” and the first factory =-.

  9. Tweets that mention 10 Things to Start, and One Thing to Stop | Confident Writing -- says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karen D. Swim, Steve Sherlock, Todd Rutherford, Ulla Hennig, Melissa D. Lierman and others. Melissa D. Lierman said: RT @joannayoung - 10 Things to Start, and One Thing to Stop: I can’t wait to see what you recommend a writer “shou… [...]

  10. Meryl K Evans says:

    Another delightful post as always, Joanna. I am trying to study up on storytelling in nonfiction. I know stories captivate people. It’s a struggle to find a story that matches the topic I am writing about. Takes practice, practice, practice.
    .-= Meryl K Evans´s last blog ..10 Actions for Writers in Providing Great Customer Service =-.

  11. ellanbethia says:

    I am one big bundle of “limiting beliefs” and they affect everything I want to do. All my projects [my darlings] had been at risk due to my limiting belief: “no way could I possibly make time for them all.” Well, “poco a poco” as my husband’s aunt liked to say: just do a little bit on this one and a little bit on that one, and soon, several projects will be completed. It’s a hard concept for me to grasp since some part of me (the insecure part, I am sure) wants them all done yesterday. What a waste; the joy is in the journey, not the goal: I just love being in the creative moment (flow).

    Number 1, however, is going to be an enigma for me as I shift my focus to my creativity. I have a ridiculously long novel that I just love (all caps). However, it isn’t complete, and I can’t decide whether to do the painstaking revisions that it needs, or move on to a new project. I can see now that my Morning Pages are going to hear a lot on this topic. Gotta convince myself that I *can* do it all.

    I am going print out your 11 suggestions and put them on my vision board, because I am in exactly that place to which you speak—breaking old, inhibiting habits and creating new, invigorating ones.

    Thank you for the post.
    .-= ellanbethia´s last blog ..Talking Books and Responding Writers =-.

  12. Julie says:

    Love it! I think many writers (especially new ones) start off with high hopes and get frustrated when instant results do not happen. It almost seems like we compare ourselves to the successful bloggers and feel let down if we are not as successful - this IS the stuff that can hold a blogger back…. finding your own voice, shedding limiting beliefs, and believing in yourself are helpful when we have doubts!
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Commenting and Interacting with Other Writers =-.

  13. Davina says:

    Number 10 sums it all up nicely Joanna: Letting go and letting flow. When I do manage to let go :-) the door opens real wide and then there’s NO stopping.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..This Effortless Brilliance =-.

  14. [...] the piece on 10 Things to Start and One Thing to Stop was really penned for myself.  It was about things I have learned and need to learn, things I need [...]

  15. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @ Karen, thank you… I do my best ;-)

    @ Christopher, I suppose what I’ve been reading about and reflecting upon is what’s leading us to get distracted… there’s probably a reason behind it. Either the thing we ‘should’ be doing isn’t really where our heart lies, or fear / the lizard mind (as Seth Godin would call it) is throwing up distractions to stop us from doing something scary (but also what we want).

    @ Lori, thank you so much for those words. I suppose my reply is - that is simply how I see it. It would amaze me to see it another way. But perhaps I need to reflect a bit on just what that means for me and what I do. (Okay, there’s no perhaps about it - I do.)

  16. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @ Charlotte, good luck with that #1 story :-)

    @ Heather, it does make a lot of sense.. if you take a look at Seth Godin’s blog you’ll find more, it seems to be uppermost in his mind just now

    @ Conor, thank you :-)

    @ Hilary, I think starting with writing a letter is great idea, a simple way to get into the flow

  17. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @ Meryl, that sounds challenging but exciting. It will be interesting to see how the stories start to pop up unannounced once you’ve got that practice bit done ;-)

    @ ellanbethia, thanks for popping back and thanks for the original comment that got me thinking harder about this. Good luck with your reflections, and here’s to invigorating habits :-)

    @ Julie, those (false) expectations and comparisons can do so much harm… when it works is when we can trust our own instinct, can follow our own path. Of course this is easier said than done!

    @ Davina, indeed. One might even say it’s your door to effortless brilliance :-)

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  19. Jay says:

    Good ones, all 1-10. What to stop? Lots of things:
    Jumping to conclusions
    Putting others down
    Criticizing others
    Fibbing (lying)
    Wasting resources-energy, paper, food, etc.

  20. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @ Jay those are good things to stop - would be good to see them expressed as positives too (they make me feel more motivated somehow)

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  22. Martha Hart says:

    Lovely post - good point too, in response to comments, about turning negatives into positives… but here’s my vote for a big STOP:
    stop giving your drafts to family and friends to read - feedback is great, but get it from a writer’s group, an editor, or a teacher
    .-= Martha Hart´s last blog ..How your Blurb book can deliver perfect happiness =-.

  23. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hi Martha, that’s an interesting point and probably one for people to work out based on where they’re at and what kind of feedback they’re looking for (and why)… and how it fits with the rest of their writing intention. Thanks for stopping by