Writing Success: Getting Out of Your Own Way

At one point, I’d never crocheted an owl.

Last weekend, I was talking to a friend about craft. This wasn’t about writing, although we both write, but crafting, specifically crochet.  Because of arthritis in her hands, she has had to give up embroidery and beading also proved impossible.  She can’t hold the needle long enough to get anything done.

“Could you crochet?  Some of the hooks have some pretty hefty grips.”

“I can’t.”

“Have you tried?”

“I can’t.”

“Even with one of the larger hooks?”

“I don’t know how.”

As my teen would say – face palm.  There is a really big difference between don’t know how and can’t.

At one point, I didn’t know how to write readers theatre.  Or lesson plans.  Or how tos.  But when my editors asked me to do it, I said yes and then figured out what I needed to do. Truth be told, I think this is how I’m wired given that I took a radio apart when I was about three.  No, I didn’t break it.  I took it apart to make it work better.  (My father secured the case with a handful of heavy-duty rubber bands.)

Learning how to write something new is do-able.  I currently have a library book on comic writing.  I’ve marked a podcast on fantasy writing.  There’s also a book on my desk on voice.

That said, there are some things I can’t do.  Toddler level picture books are a mystery to me.  Even 90% of the ones that win awards just leave me going —

I just don’t click with these kinds of books.

That is a viable excuse for not writing something.  It you don’t like that type of book, don’t write that type of book even if it is a huge money-maker.  If, on the other hand, you don’t know how?  Read some examples of that type of book.  Check out the how-to books, the blogs and the pod casts.  Play around.

You may find something that you love.