Seminar Obsession: Why You're Not Getting Anything Done

Many years ago I attended a seminar that promised dating advice for men. In it, I met many nice guys who had trouble meeting women, and had become immersed in a world of “pick-up artists” and seminars that promised to teach techniques that went beyond pick-up lines and other tricks. Many of these men were seeking a “magic bullet”, or a line that would have any woman hypnotized instantly. Unable to get that kind of information at previous seminars, they continued to attend different ones, hoping that the magic pick-up line would suddenly come to them.

The key here is that none of these men were ever going to be able to find women by attending weekly or daily seminars full of men. Sure, some of the techniques the presenters brought to the table made sense, but all of them required practice, dedication, and of course, application. Many of the attendees hopped from seminar to seminar hoping to find a method that would allow them to get results without much effort. This is similar to people who constantly try new pills to lose weight; the tried and true way of losing way is not a pill – it is diet and exercise, and that takes effort.

Similarly, in writing, there are people who attend seminars to learn how to write, to learn how to land an agent, and learn how to get published. But what good is all of this information if you are not actually doing any writing? The point here is that, although there is a lot of information to be learned about writing on the internet and in seminars throughout the world, none of them are going to get you published if you don’t have any work to be published.

What I am recommending here is not to stop reading tips on writing or publishing; learning your craft is a very important aspect of writing. But, if you are spending most of your time (or rather, more than 20 percent of your writing time) learning about writing rather than actually writing – you’re never going to get anywhere. So, if you don’t dedicate an hour of each day to writing, and are instead spending more than 30 minutes reading, you’re wasting valuable writing time. Recognize that this is a procrastination technique that your brain is using to avoid failure.

Those guys at the seminar say they want to be sure they know everything there is to know about women and dating before going out to try and meet a girl – but that is a tall order, and one that is impossible to achieve. They are “putting off” going out and approaching women because they are afraid of being rejected. If your work is akin to Shakespeare’s or Frost’s or Hemmingway’s or Thoreau’s, the reality is that there will be many people who will reject it regardless, so get used to it; being a writer requires very thick skin. So, rather than wasting too much time learning the craft, spend time writing and getting your work critiqued. There are many places you can get this done for free, including critique groups on Meetup. This will help you find your target audience much as a dating enthusiast will find a date by actually approaching women.