Skip to main content
Publish date:

In Writer's Limbo? How Low Can You Go?

Are you in in a writing slump? Lynn Dickinson teaches you how to Writer’s Limbo by setting writing goals that keep the bar low!

Are you in a writing slump? Lynn Dickinson teaches you how to Writer's Limbo by setting writing goals that keep the bar low!

Are you in in a writing slump? Lynn Dickinson teaches you how to Writer's Limbo by setting writing goals that keep the bar low!

Photo credit: Iian A Wanless

If you’re not writing as much as you wish you were, you might be in Writer's Limbo. And, just like the famous limbo dance, when you're in Writer's Limbo, there’s only one way to win…

Set the bar as low as possible.

Just as the best limbo dancers “go low,” so do the most prolific writers.

We live in a culture where setting the bar high can sound like a good idea. After all, that’s what “winners” do, right? They set the bar high enough to impress others, then sail over it with ease.

Well … not so much.

Escape from Writer's Limbo

It may seem self-evident, but it’s good to reach your goals.

When you set a goal and reach it, you not only make progress toward your desired end game, but you also experience a sense of achievement, success, and accomplishment. You build trust in yourself. You’re more likely to pursue your future goals with enthusiasm and confidence. Reaching your goals is a good thing.

Setting a goal and not reaching it has the opposite effect. It’s demoralizing. It saps your energy. It drains your confidence. It makes you pull the covers over your head and pretend you never cared in the first place.

In fact, the mere act of setting a goal and reaching it can be so powerful and beneficial, it’s almost irrelevant what goal you set!

So, set the bar low.

Setting lower goals isn't lazy. There's actually a scientific reason to do so.

Setting a goal that seems too high to reach with ease is more likely to activate your innate fight-or-flight response than setting low, easy-sounding goals. When your fight-or-flight response is activated, you may do a lot of other things, but you probably won’t write. In that way, those lofty goals are more likely to keep you from writing anything at all, than they are to facilitate your work.

Sure, you may dream of winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, or the Booker Prize for your novel, but there’s an important difference between dreams and goals. You set goals in service to your dreams. Each goal you set and achieve, takes you a step closer to your dreamed-of outcomes.

Taking a mere baby step toward your ideal writing life may seem not as worthwhile as taking a huge running leap. But a series of baby steps in the right direction will get you where you want to go a lot faster than a million running leaps you never take.

So what can you do today, or right this minute, in service to your writing dreams?

7 Tips for Creating Writing Goals that Actually Work

How low can you go?

If you can’t write a chapter today, can you write a page? If you can’t write a page, can you write a paragraph? If you can’t write a paragraph, can you write a sentence? If you can’t write a sentence, can you write one word? Can you sit at your computer and turn it on? Can you open your journal and pick up a pen?

Set the bar low and clear it with ease. Then pat yourself on the back and celebrate another goal reached. You only get good at what you practice, and today, what you are practicing is achieving your goals.

Maybe tomorrow, you’ll set and reach a goal that aims a tiny bit higher.

What’s one goal that feels like a no-brainer for you today? What can you accomplish with ease that will move you that much closer to your writing dream?

Post it down below so we can root for you!

And whenever you find yourself in Writer's Limbo, remember–set the bar low. Then go for it.

How low can you go?

P.S. Once you've let us know how low you can go, please take a moment to let me know how I can help you write more, by taking this short, 5-question survey for writers. Thanks!

Need help getting focused? Register for Screenwriters University's online course, Mastering the Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters! 

REGISTER NOW!

Image placeholder title
Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character quit or surrender.

Colleen Cambridge: On Honoring the Golden Age of Detective Fiction

Colleen Cambridge: On Honoring the Golden Age of Detective Fiction

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Colleen Cambridge discusses the process of writing her new mystery novel, Murder at Mallowan Hall.

Agent Alert: Hannah Andrade of Bradford Literary Agency

Agent Alert: Hannah Andrade of Bradford Literary Agency

Literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Hannah Andrade of Bradford Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

3 Tips for Writing a Holiday Romance Novel

3 Tips for Writing a Holiday Romance Novel

Jenny Bayliss' new novel, A Season for Second Chances, takes place in a small seaside village with Christmas fast approaching. Here, she offers 3 tips for writing a holiday romance novel.

Sallie Tisdale: On the Power of Pop Culture

Sallie Tisdale: On the Power of Pop Culture

Author Sallie Tisdale discusses her deep dive into reality television to observe the power of pop culture for her new book, The Lie About the Truck.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 588

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a last poem.

The Differences in Writing a Memoir vs. a Novel

The Differences in Writing a Memoir vs. a Novel

Where fiction writing is about concealing emotional truth for interpretation, memoir is about exposing it for what it is. Writer Jenna Blum discusses the differences she experienced in writing a memoir vs. a novel.

17 Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

17 Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

When choosing your publishing journey, it's important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks in order to make the right decision for you and your work. Author Rick Lauber lays out 17 pros and cons of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

Spooky Season

Scary Season

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write something that has to do with the scary season!