Friday, February 8, 2013

Life Lessons—The Biggest Roadblock Writers Face

by Reba J Hoffman, Ph.D

It’s not that agent who won’t represent you. Nor is it the gate keeper editor at the big pub house. It’s not even the critic or book reviews. The biggest roadblock writers face is that mugshot we see in the mirror each and every morning.


Writers stand in the way of our progress down the writing road more than any other obstacle. And, since we writers are blessed with great imaginations, we concoct all sorts of horrible endings for us along the journey. They’re just waiting to derail us around the next bend. Or are they?

I read a novel once about an author who fell into all sorts of sin while lonely on his book tour. I told someone I just couldn’t live the life of a touring author. I was seriously ringing my hands as I declared I simply could not handle the rigors of being a best-selling author.

That person looked at me and said, “Aren’t you putting the cart just a little before the horse? You haven’t even written a book yet.”

Oh yeah.

I had simply let my imagination run a marathon and ended up in that fictional protagonist’s shoes. I was already trying to get out of my book signings. Really?

That taught me so much about myself and my imagination. Before you shake your head in pity, remember that you are also blessed with a generous portion of imagination that is sitting ready to embellish your next thought into a world changing catastrophic event.

Here are a few things you can do to help you overcome the biggest roadblock writers face. 
  • Get out of your way. Just move your emotional buns to the side and let your creative self pass.
  • Stop worrying needlessly. There is no reason to worry about reviews on Amazon if you haven’t even outlined your story. Stop it.
  • Do a vehicle check. Walk around your emotions and determine if they are fit for your journey today. If not, get that fixed before you strike out on a wild ride.
I know it sounds easy but it’s a little more challenging to put into practice. But, you did make it a habit of growing that molehill into a mountain. You can also train yourself to not be the biggest roadblock in your writing life. If you do, you’ll have a wonderful trip!

Have you ever got in your own way? What did you do when that happened? Share it here.

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. I am always getting in my own way. Like sending a manuscript off that is nooooooooooowhere ready for publication. ;-)

  2. I hear ya Pat. We're our best friend and worst enemy. We're our greatest strength and greatest weakness all at once.

  3. Getting in my way--boy does that ring a bell! It can make not even begin to write one day because it doesn't sound good to me even though I haven't put it on paper. Gotta just start anyway.

  4. Thank you Ellen for your courageous confession. All writers start with a blank page. No matter how many novels they've published, they all start right there at the same place you do. Start anyway. :-)

  5. Wonderful thoughts here, Edie! Our imaginations get in the way of us trusting our talents, too. We imagine the worst and it keeps us from moving forward with our writing while we wait. Thanks for the encouragement today.

    1. You are so right Michelle. I'm so glad today's post helped remind you-and all of us-to keep moving forward. Keep writing!

  6. Reba, you are spot on! Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement!

  7. I agree with every comment and they apply to me. I'm thinking of trading me in on another model that may not have that "get in the way" trait. Sigh...

  8. As always, I love your posts. "Move your emotional buns to one side" ... I need to do that more often than not. Not just for writing, but, well, for everything. My imagination and emotions run the show when I need to simply write the next page. I'm pondering this!