When you sit down to start writing a book, are you able to jump right in and catch the stream or words or does the whole task feel daunting? Or, let’s say you’ve already written part of the book and need to reengage with it after a hiatus from writing. Does the prospect bring joy or do you find yourself avoiding it? In either case, do you feel overwhelmed or downright panicky about beginning (again), doubting you can complete what you have begun?

Most writers have probably felt at least some combination of those extremes.

Including me. After taking several months off from writing due to a medical odyssey, I experienced a variation of this as I came back to writing my novel. I would pass by the three-ring binder of hundreds of pages I had already written and printed out, think about all those computer files of chapter bits they represented that needed to be revised and filled out, expanded, and thought, Now what? Can I reengage with this book?

Here is one simple step I used that I have learned over my years of writing. It guarantees I will stop drowning in doubt and ride the wave back to land on the shore of my writing project:

1. Bring yourself back to the present moment. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, panicky or any extreme feeling, negative or positive, you have fallen into the past of what you experienced “back then” as a writer. You know those “back then” stories -- those missteps or past writer’s blocks or writing/publishing gone wrong experiences you use to flog yourself.

And while it can sometimes be helpful to remember past writing successes you can build upon, they can serve as distractions when you are trying to get going on your present writing project. Pondering those past raving writing successes or long gone periods of effortless creative flow too often can keep you out of sync with where you need to be now to write whatever you need to write today. (Especially when you end up worrying that will never be able to repeat them).

If you’re not in the past, you may have projected into the fantasized future of your book. The Looming Questions: Will the book be a success or not? Will I finish it or not? Will it be published – or not? Will anyone want to read it or even notice it amongst the bevy of new books each year?

Listen up. None of these – I repeat, none of these are worthy topics for rumination when you sit down to write.

They’re one of an infinite number of ruses by your ego to protect you, to support you in staying in the writing safe zone, no matter now unproductive or unpleasant that zone is.

The writing safe zone overflows with the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of anticipated writing horror or glory that keep you from than taking the risk of facing the unknown, the seeming black hole of the present moment of your writing.

Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. And more than likely, I’ll slip slide my way there again. I just know not to stay there as soon as I realize where I’ve detoured.

Racing to the future or rehashing the past of writing experiences does not help you write your book in the present moment. Not when you sit in front of your computer or with a notebook and writing implement in hand. Not when you take a walk in the park or a shower, have a great idea, but use a negative past experience or fear to talk yourself out of writing it down and exploring it. Not when you are lying in bed awake at 3 a.m., in overload because of all that is involved in having a writing career today, then can’t write the next morning because you’ve deflated yourself.

So next time you feel any of those negative feelings (or potentially distracting super hero(ine) fantasies of writing glory) , stop them cold by naming them as the creativity zappers they are and come back into the present moment. Then rest there, listen to what arises and say yes.

And know this: The only truly safe and helpful place for a writer is that place of opening to the unknown of the present. This is where your true north of writing lies.

That unknown may look or feel like a bottomless black hole.

But I have one thing to say: Jump, sweet writer. Jump. Because that’s where the stream of words waits – and waits – and waits – and will continue to wait, while you take the long way to get back home to them.

Author's Bio: 

Write a Book -- Transform Your Life now. Sign up for your free writing ecourse with Alissa Lukara to discover 7 key steps to write a transformational book. Go to: http://www.transformationalwriters.com for this and lots more writing resources. Alissa Lukara, author of the memoir, Riding Grace: A Triumph of the Soul, works with writers and authors who want to make a positive difference. She is a writing coach, book whisperer, and online and in person writing workshop leader and presenter.