When you tell yourself you don’t have time to write, your brain believes you. When you tell yourself over and over you don’t have time to write, you never find time to write. Even when you have four hours set aside to write, something always comes up. Because you don’t have time to write!
But if you tell yourself you have time to write, time appears. I wanted to write “time magically appears,” but in my experience, that’s not true.
The brain is an organ that produces thoughts. It also believes thoughts—without question. Thoughts appear. We believe them.
Unless we make the effort to question them.
“I don’t have time to write.”
Is that true?
“Well, no. I wrote for two hours yesterday morning and I’m writing right now.”
What’s actually true is: I have time to write.
Because our brains have evolved to expend minimal energy, our brains prefer not to have to make decisions. That’s why it’s easier to go to work the same way every day, even if you could have avoided that traffic by taking the back roads. Your brain, all our human brains, would rather be on auto-pilot, conserving energy for when we have to run from that saber toothed tiger.
But there isn’t a saber-toothed tiger anymore. All that physical danger we’ve evolved to save our energy for doesn’t exist, at least not here in North America. We are very fortunate.
But our brains still operate the way they evolved to millions of years ago. So if we think a thought, it’s easier to just believe it and keep going because it takes less energy, which our brains equate to a better chance of survival.
But some of the thoughts we “just believe” are harmful to us. “I don’t have time to write,” for example, is a poisonous thought to a writer, or to someone who wants to be a writer.
So what can we do about these thoughts that appear and stop us in our tracks?
Take the time to question that thought every single time you think it and you will soon break yourself of the habit of thinking it.
Questioning a thought takes energy. So your brain (and mine!) will resist. It will give you evidence (excuses!) showing why you don’t have time to write.
Keep presenting the evidence showing when you had time to write. Give concrete, specific examples:
- I wrote for an hour right after I dropped the kids off at school yesterday.
- I wrote every day for at least 30 minutes last summer when I did that journal challenge.
- I wrote for 2 hours last Sunday morning.
Catch yourself thinking “I don’t have time to write,” and challenge it. If you do, you will soon be thinking “I have time to write,” just as often. You will also, I believe, be writing!
Diane MacKinnon, MD, is a Master Certified Life Coach who used to work as a Family Physician. She’s passionate about writing and journaling and is (still!) working on her first book, a self-help book for medical peeps. You can find her at her website, www.dianemackinnon.com.