Lately I’ve been struggling to get the words on the page. I have all the tools at my fingertips, I know what I need to do, but, at least in the last few weeks, I haven’t done it.
I had a discussion about this topic with a woman who attended a class I taught on procrastination. Ironic, isn’t it? I’m teaching others about how to deal with procrastination and I notice that the one thing I do that’s only for myself—writing fiction—is the only thing on my to-do list that’s not getting done.
I’m so much less of a procrastinator than I used to be. I’m so much better at getting things done that are important to me—except my personal writing.
I know why—because of my thinking. I keep thinking that my writing is only for myself. That thought makes me feel defeated, and when I feel defeated my writing goes directly to the bottom of my to-do list (where it promptly falls off the list!)
Everything else I do has some impact on someone else, even if only in a small way. Or that’s what I tell myself.
But I have always wanted (no, longed) to be a writer. To me, that means a fiction writer (even though I really enjoy my nonfiction writing, too!) So I need to change that thought.
I believe if I can change that thought (my fiction writing is only for myself) I will change the way I feel about my writing which will lead me to act differently—in this case, actually get some writing done!
So, what could I think that is as true or truer than my previous thought and gives me a positive emotion?
Here are a few thoughts I’ve come up with:
- My writing matters to me and my future audience.
- My writing brings me joy and that’s important.
- Time spent writing is time invested in myself.
Each one of these thoughts brings up a positive emotion but the one that seems to feel the best is: My writing brings me joy and that’s important.
When I think this thought, I immediately feel a rush of energy and, yes, joy!
Since I happen to believe that having as much joy as possible in my life is a worthy goal, this thought is much more positive for me than my previous thought.
Now, will my new thought change my behavior? I hope so. I will focus on saying this new thought (which I really believe—that’s very important) whenever my old thought about writing arises.
I’ll let you know what comes of it.
How do you get yourself to the page when it’s “only” for you?
Diane MacKinnon: is a writer, blogger, life coach, family physician, mother, and stepmother. The writing retreat I went on in January seems like a million years ago, but I know I can get back on track if I can just change my thought and schedule one block of time to write in the next few days. I know if I don’t actually schedule it, I’ll never “find” the time.