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Monday, January 08, 2018


Time To Tackle What’s Holding You Back

I just spent ten minutes trying to open a new document, but not because my laptop is slow.

No, I have a better reason than that, friends. A really good excuse: I DIDN’T KNOW HOW.

Crazy, right? Not knowing how to open a document when I’ve been doing it for years. But for years, I’ve been happily plugging along on Precious the Laptop. Me and Precious, we’ve been through a lot. We know each other so well! But now Precious, much like me, is showing signs of wear and tear. As much as I hate to abandon her, the time has come. Fortunately, I have a dandy, relatively new laptop, just lying around, waiting to do something. It belonged to Mister Man.

Now before you think, oh, that’s so sad. She couldn’t bring herself to work on her poor dead husband’s laptop, I’m going to stop you. Because it has nothing to do with sentimentality and everything to do with resisting change.

I don’t want to learn all the ins and outs of this new laptop. It’s Windows 112 or something while Precious is still back there on Windows 5 and three-quarters. The new one is fast and sleek and zips along with all its keys intact, and poor Precious? She weighs a ton, putters out after thirty minutes if she’s not plugged in, and don’t even get me started on her keys.

So my mind’s made up, and everything will take me twice as long until I learn all the secrets of this new laptop. And yet, I know that by the end of the month, I’ll be wondering why I waited forever to embrace this change. It will totally be worth it!

Which brings me to you, dear writers. What have you been putting off? What change are you running from? What new (or old) writing aspect has you cringing in fear?

January—that fresh start month—is the perfect time to tackle your foe. So right this minute, before the year gets any older, I want you to shout out your weakness, your downfall, your whatever-it-is that’s keeping you from meeting your full writing potential. Don’t think too much, just shout the first thought that comes to you!

Querying agents!

Writing a synopsis!


Attending a conference!

Figuring out a new laptop!

Great! Now I want you to write it down in big letters on an 8 x 12 sheet of paper. Next, post it somewhere you can see it all the time. On the refrigerator door. Across your bathroom mirror. ON THE TV.

You are not allowed to move that sheet of paper until you’ve begun to tackle whatever is on it. I promise that once you do, you’ll feel empowered! And what’s more, the sooner you act, the closer you’ll be to overcoming whatever is holding you back.

Precious the Laptop served me well, but look out, brave new writing world. Me and Precious.2 are coming for you! 

Cathy C. Hall is a kidlit author and humor writer and she's on her way, figuring out the new laptop! Frankly, she's amazed at all it can do! (But she keeps it on the down low around the house. Precious the Laptop is the jealous type.) Cathy also talks about writing stuff  at her blog, so come say hello and happy 2018, y'all!

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Blogger Pat Wahler said...

I totally understand! Learning the ins and outs of a new computer is a daunting task (at least for technologically challenged people like me.)

I downloaded Scrivener a few days ago, and still haven't tried to do anything with it because I'm scared!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

Then we'll tackle our technology together, Pat! (I've gt a head start on you, though, so get crackin'! :-) )

2:35 PM  
Blogger Nicole Michelle said...

Oh I would say what's holding me back is resisting typing up my stories at all! And once I do, I lose interest. It's like I'm saying, "As long as it isn't typed, there's still a chance!" How wacky is that?? This year I will type my stories and actually stick with them! Even when I'm sick of the sight of them :)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Precious.2 sounds amazing! I go through PC laptops like paper towels. My hubby and I buy cheapies for our retail business but our employees are always getting shopping adware on them! I was using one that was a year old after our business closed, but I gave it away to a writer friend and bought a new Macbook Pro that I'll probably have for ten years since it cost almost 4k after all the accessories. Yikes.

I just started taking a class on website redesign. The dreaded thing I've been talking about for years that's been holding WOW back. I'm hoping to lose that feeling of overwhelm and embrace empowerment.

It seems we all have technology issues!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Publishing. That's the thing that's holding me back. Fear of it? I'm not sure, but I need to get off my a$$ and move forward.

If I don't, my whole life will be one huge couldawouldashoulda...

4:25 PM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

Nicole, please start typing!

Ang, I don't blame you for dreading a redesign--that's major work! (I've got the doc thing figured out now...still fiddling with the printer. Ugh.)

And Sioux, yes. Banish the shoulds and embrace the will/do! (Easier said than done, I know...)

7:46 AM  
Blogger Lisa Ricard Claro said...

You can probably guess my downfall---marketing! I HATE marketing with a purple passion. I despise it, avoid it, and pretend it doesn't have to be done. *sigh* Yeah, yeah, I know. I need to face the music and start *gulp!* marketing!

8:45 AM  
Blogger Linda O'Connell said...

I've been toying with an idea for a CS story, but not motivated yet. I turned down a new computer yesterday because I hate change and figuring out technology, too.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Renee Roberson said...

What's holding me back is actually trying to find an agent. I'm almost there and swear I'm either going to begin the search in earnest this year or at least make a submission to a publisher!

6:22 PM  

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