Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way

Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way

Quote from Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way

Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way – How To Write the Future episode 55

“One thing we’re not super good at as humans is how to be happy, how to plan for the best, how to design for the best.”

“-Stories allow us to think about what could be in a positive way and to ask those what-if questions about how our civilizations, our cultures, could be designed differently.”

In “Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way” host Beth Barany, creativity coach, and science fiction and fantasy novelist, shares 7 actionable ways you can create your art, including The 5 Steps to Implementing the List of 20 that will inspire you to work on your creative project.

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RESOURCES for Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way

Original article: “Escape Into your Art: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way #5”

Ep. 18: What if… and Your Brain

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The How To Write The Future podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers.

Tips for fiction writers! This podcast is for you if you have questions like:

  • How do I create a believable world for my science fiction story?
  • How do I figure out what’s not working if my story feels flat?
  • How do I make my story more interesting and alive?

This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.

Transcript for Get Writing: Seven Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way


Are you looking for a way to dig into your world-building for your story?

Then I recommend that you check out my World Building Workbook for Fiction Writers. Now available.

It’s at How To Write The

Just head on over there. Click, sign up. Put your name and email, and there you go.

That workbook will be delivered to your inbox straight away.

Welcome to the podcast

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to How To Write The Future podcast. I’m your host, Beth Barany and I am a creativity coach, a novelist, and a podcaster.

Today I’m going to read from one of the sparks in my book, Overcome Writer’s Block. And I want to set it up a little bit and then I will read it.

So this podcast is about supporting you science fiction and fantasy writers and anyone who cares about the future to write positive, optimistic stories so that we can envision what is possible so we can help make it so.

Now that is tough. We as human beings are hardwired to see the worst to predict or plan for the worst. It’s all about survival and it makes total sense.

One thing we’re not super good at as humans is how to be happy, how to plan for the best, how to design for the best. So stories allow us to think about what could be in a positive way and to ask those what-if questions about how our civilizations, our cultures, could be designed differently.

It takes a lot of courage.

So in this spark, it’s called Escape Into Your Art: Seven Ways To Get Out Of Your Own Way.

Now I wrote it over a decade ago. And I don’t necessarily think getting out of your own way is today how I would name it. Nevertheless, the tips that I share here are all about helping you be brave, take that risky move of expressing what you really think and feel. And I think we need that courage to create positive, optimistic futures.

So enjoy this spark.

And I will jump into the end to add a few words. All right, here we go.

Escape into your art: 

Get Writing: Seven ways to get out of your own way 

And here’s a quote from a circle of quiet. The Crosswicks Journal Book One by Madeleine L’Engle. One of my favorite writers.

“When we are self-conscious we cannot be wholly aware. We must throw ourselves out first. The throwing ourselves away is an act of creativity. So when we wholly concentrate like a child in play or an artist at work, Then we share in the act of creating. We not only escape time. We also escape our self-conscious selves.”

So that’s the quote.

We must take action to create our art.

We must play at it as a child approaches playing. I love this Madeleine L’Engle quote, and I want to share with you how we can escape into our own art. How to open the door into the sumptuous world of our creativity. I’m assuming you know what your art is that you know how you want to apply your creative energies.

But you feel stymied in some way. If you don’t know what your creative art is, then I suggest you remember and identify it. You could also read about Spark Seven, the Passion For Writing. Or read it directly in Overcome Writer’s Block.

What was your favorite game or pastime as a child? Think back to how you spent your time. For example, I love playing Ollie Ollie Oxenfree, a complex version of hide and go seek with friends and siblings. We loved playing Capture The Flag, exploring the nearby wine grape vineyards, and playing in abandoned fields, full of burrs and blackberry brambles.

I also love curling up with a good adventure story, like Misty of Chincoteague or The Lost Prince.

Time to take action. Any action will do. Okay. Almost any. If you need more clear direction, then below are six ways to get out of your own way. Do one or do them all. The point here is to get out of your own way and create in place of love, enjoyment, and play.

Way #1

Way Number One of Getting Out of Your Own Way: Play. 

With reading, I loved and still love diving into another world, so completely different from my own, and coming out of the story refreshed. And so in love with that other place. It makes this place, my own place, stand out is foreign and intriguing. I’m always on an adventure and this, I love.

What do you love about the games you played?

Dig beneath the pleasure and describe its elements.

Way #2

Way Two of Getting Out of Your Own Way: Identity. 

I’m in love with my current piece of fiction. It’s characters, setting, and problems. I can’t wait to return to that world so I can sit in the angst of the problems I’ve created and move my characters to some kind of resolution. I love that exploration. Because, although I know where I want my characters to go, I don’t know exactly how they will travel there.

Or if they will really succeed in their missions.

Identify the thing you love about your writing, your art. Identify it and allow yourself to sink your teeth into it.

As Madeleine L’Engle says, “We must throw ourselves out first and become our art creating itself.”

Way #3

Way Number Three of Getting Out of Your Own Way: Time Limits.

Set the timer for 20 minutes, more or less is fine, though I found 20 minutes to be optimal for writing.

Write about all the reasons why you can’t write. If you find yourself writing about other things, great. The point is to move your pen across the page without stopping until the buzzer rings.

Or write about what you want your writing project to really be like.

Way #4

Way Number Four of Getting Out of Your Own Way: Tracking. 

You’re ready to work. The computer is on or notebook and pen or pencil is in hand.

Now it’s time to note your starting time, page number, and starting word count. A spreadsheet can help you do just that. A tracking sheet, that helps you, well, track.

Not just what you’ve done and for how long. It tracks that you’ve done it.

Breathe. Congratulations.

Showing up and following through on your creating is what it’s all about.

Way #5

Way Number Five of Getting Out of Your Own Way: Map. 

A leadership trainer and friend, Greg Norte, taught me a Map is a Major Accountability Partner. Maybe this person is a life partner, business partner, colleague, or creativity buddy. Call them at the start and at the finish to report in.

Celebrate your successes and shore up any challenges.

Weekly as best, I have maps in all areas of my life. Go, team.

Way #6 

Way Number Six of Getting Out of Your Own Way: List of 20. 

This is one of my favorite exercises appealing to both the left and the right-brainers out there.

This exercise can be used for any kind of creative project and yes, of course, writing. It’s great in fact, for story and idea generation in any area.

There are five steps to implementing the simple, yet powerful tool.

Quote from Get Writing: Seven Ways To Get Out of Your Own Way

The 5 Steps to Implementing The List of 20 

Step One: Set Your Intention For The List. 

In other words, decide what you’re going to use the list for.

For example, you could decide to list out 20 possible plot ideas; terrible scenarios for your hapless characters to fall into; or 20 ideas associated with a big lifestyle change. Or the question: what do I really want with this creative project?

Step Two: Get Ready. 

Number your page down the left-hand side, one to 20.

Step Three. Get Set. 

Know that you will list 20 items, even if you repeat yourself, even if it doesn’t make sense, what you write.

Step Four. Go. 

Write your list of 20. Don’t stop until you’ve reached the end.

Step Five. Read your list with amusement and neutrality. 

Then congratulate yourself.

You did it. if you are so inspired, pick one item and work on it right now.

Way #7 

Way Number Seven of Getting Out of Your Own Way: field Trip. 

When I need inspiration and something to jolt me into action. I take a little field trip down the hill to my neighborhood Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, California. Like today, I took a field trip to one of my favorite coffee shops. Peet’s Coffee; sat in the little plaza and enjoyed the mural and the passersby while I wrote; then went to that wonderful resource, the public library, and popped into a fun new store in the neighborhood, Issues, with their wacky and wonderful magazines and newspapers from around the world.

Where can you go to mix things up, get inspiration, spur yourself to action, feed your fire?

It may only be a seven-and-a-half-minute walk away.


Hopefully, by now, you’ve been inspired to action to choose one or a few or all of the above exercises to help you wholly concentrate and share in the act of creating with your art. And to lovingly and kindly get the hell out of your own way.

Go be creative. Go play.

Thanks, everyone for listening to me read to you one of the sparks from my ebook Overcome Writer’s Block, which you can get at any, book vendor. It is ebook only.

Only one detail in here is now outdated, which is Issues. Unfortunately, that wonderful store with magazines and newspapers is no longer in my neighborhood.

So I hope you are inspired to action to work on your writing.

Which one of these tips excites you the most?

Go for it.

Let me know how it went. And let me know if you have any questions about getting inspired, getting into action.

Your questions help me shape future episodes and your questions I can also answer directly in future episodes. So contact me through any one of the social media channels. Or my website, how to write the and I can feature your question in an upcoming episode. That’s it for now everyone.

Happy writing.

Thanks for listening…

Thank you so much, everyone, for listening to my podcast. Your interest and feedback is so inspiring to me and helps me know that I’m helping you in some small way.

So, write long and prosper.


Are you stuck and overwhelmed by world-building?

Then check out my new World Building Workbook for Fiction Writers.

Head over to and sign up for yours today.

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Image of Beth Barany

Beth Barany teaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.”


Learn more about Beth Barany at these sites: 


Author siteCoaching site / School of Fiction / Writer’s Fun Zone blog


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