Beating Writer’s Block With Nelson Mandela

So There I was…

I wander into the Mainyard meeting room playing with my phone and hear a cough in the corner.

I look up, and Mandela is sitting in a chair in the corner of the room doodling in a notebook.

Want to chat? He asks.

Er, yes, I have not seen you for a while, I reply.

It looked like you did not need us.

Actually, I thought I did not, or rather I wanted to try it on my own for a bit.

We are always here to listen, I know Gandhi and Montessori can be a bit tough at times, but they mean well.

Besides, there is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find all the ways you have altered.

Stop The Small Talk

So what have you been up to Nelson?

Oh, just hanging around the meeting room here at 90 Mainyard since the last time we talked.

It’s Mainyard Studios now, I correct him.

Well, because you came up with us when it was 90 Mainyard we are stuck in that paradigm, well not stuck, we like it here by the canal and the Olympic Park.

You mean you just hang around here all day?

I see other people, but enough of that Bernie, stop with the small talk.

What do you need?

If you did not need us, we would not have come back to your imagination.

I’m struggling to publish anything these days, I mean I write every day and love it but I just don’t know what to say.

How is that ‘seventy-five words’ shit working out?

It’s 750 Words, and it’s great, I’m past the million and a half mark the last time I checked, but it never gets onto my website.

A million and a half words! That is some badass shit, Bernie!

More Words A Day, Just Write

Mandela when did you start talking like that?

Sorry Bernie, when Montessori is not around I can let rip a bit, and I’ve been out a few times with Miles Davis and Robbin Williams in the last few weeks, and they are, well infectious.

I continue to explain to Mandela,

I was listening to this Rachel Arron book about writing on my run today, I got it a few years ago and liked it then, I wanted to see what I could find that would help me now.

Did she say just write?

Something like that, but the main points were about knowing what you are writing about and also planning your writing.

My last post was about hitting reset and starting with a beginners mind.

I read that article Bernie, it did not say anything about beginners mind.

Restarting was the intention, I learnt a lot in 2018 and was wondering where to start, and I thought I just have to start!

But I could not find the starting point.

OMG Bernie, the drama! Cried, Mandela

I’m sorry Nelson, I did not mean to disappoint you. I whimper.

It’s not about me or you, I appreciate you’re stuck.  

You do know it seems impossible until it is done?

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

Are you scared, Bernie? Probes Mandela

How can I be scared? I’m just making some words and putting them on my website.

Are you a little bit scared Bernie?

Yes, I am.

I am petrified.

I’m petrified that I might run out of ideas, that someone will take the piss out of what I’ve written, that it won’t be good enough, that my website won’t build into what it could be.

Do you need a tissue, you seem upset Bernie, has anything gone wrong before?

No, nothing. I just don’t do anything. I feel like I fell over with hitting publish and then stayed down ever since.

Bernie, the greatest glory in living is not falling, but in rising every time, we fall.

That sounds great when you say it Nelson, but I don’t get it for me.

David Goggins and Zero Excuses 

I see you’ve been reading that David Goggins book and have started running again, how come you can run but not hit publish?

I did not really make the connection there Nelson, can you explain a bit more, I get it, but I don’t get it.

What you are weak on is the vision, you are treading water, my son.

Action without vision is only passing the time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.

Do you want to change the world?

I’d like to have a go, well I’m up for making my dent in the universe.

Are you committed to changing your mindset? Mandela asks sternly.

Yes, I’m committed to changing my mindset. I reply, standing up a little straighter.

So what is stopping you?

Hard To Re-recruit At That Level Again

I’m overwhelmed.

How can you be overwhelmed? Mandela shoots back.

Bernie, when we started this chat years ago, you were crawling around the floor here deep in depression drowning in false starts and self-loathing, look at where you are now.

Mandela moves forward in his chair and leans on the table, he continues.

With all those things on your phone you have never been more organised, you have beat depression, quit smoking, drugs and drinking, have outrun dyslexia and not to mention marrying a girl at a level you’d find hard to re-recruit at again

It feels like I am overwhelmed, I answer, apparently without thinking.

Is it over-whelm or something else? He squints at me over the table.

Bernie, as I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind I’d still be in prison.

So what I am saying Bernie, drop being angry with yourself for what you did and did not do and enjoy where you are, be brave and get writing.

Thanks, Nelson, what shall I do next? I’m still stuck about where to begin.

What did you come up with as your why? You spent enough time shouting about that book.

Start With The Why

I’ve been thinking about that.

How long have you been thinking about that Bernie?

About ten years and I…

TEN YEARS! Interrupts Mandela.

What are you waiting for Bernie?

There are a handful of people out there that need you to do your thing, whatever that is, what is your ‘why’?

It sounds stupid, I offer, not realising I have hung my head in shame.

Let’s beat Apartheid sounded stupid at the time Bernie, but I found the time to get a few people together and sort that fucker out, let’s hear it, Bernie.

My why? ‘To find my voice and help others find theirs.’

Do you mean like Covey’s book the Eighth Habit?

Yes, I liked the idea.

And the book.

Mandela laughs.

I was out mountain biking with Stephen the other day, great guy.

He mentions me a lot in his work, which is nice.

Do you go mountain biking?

I can go everywhere, Bernie.

So you want to find your voice and help others find theirs?

Er, yes, Nelson.

Let Your Light Shine

You sound as confident about that as some people were about me getting out of jail. I’ve said it before, and I’ll tell you here face to face Bernie.

As we let out own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

Think of all the people you interact with every day and how they have got you to the point where you are writing this blog post.

Was that you or Marianne Willamson who said that let our own light shine thing?

You know what? Started Mandela.

Both me and Marianne did, and we get quoted everywhere, but who is keeping score?

I know she is not, and Bernie there can be no more excellent gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return.

So please publish useful blogs and get through the personal pain, suffering and possible humiliation, but I think you are safe there.

Ok Nelson, thanks for this little chat, I kinda needed one last push.

This year is going great, with the running, the Coworking Assembly and all the trips our family have planned. I tell Mandela.

It does not stop here Bernie, and you know it.

After climbing a great hill one only finds that there are many more hills to climb, and like my brother Goggins says, “there is no finish line” – now get out of here and hit publish before I take all this shit back.


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