Last month I wrote a blog post about procrastination. Today I want to tell you how I actually get myself to sit down and write.
Sometimes an idea comes and I just sit down and start writing. Or I jot down the idea and sit down and write as soon as I have a free minute.
Often I look ahead and see that I have a blog post due soon and I start thinking about what I could write. I think about it as I walk, run, and drive through my days and, once I get an idea, I sit down to write.
Other times, I notice I’m procrastinating, so I do the only thing that works for me. I schedule my writing time. I write down in my calendar “Write book,” because that’s the scariest thing I’m doing right now and I’ve procrastinated a lot over this book and enough’s enough.
Then, at the appointed time, I sit down at my desk. I don’t want to. I never want to sit down to write at the time I’ve scheduled it. I know this ahead of time so when I show up at the appointed time and “don’t feel like” sitting down to write, I accept this feeling and sit down anyway. When I do, I’m honoring my commitment to myself and to this project I’m working on that I care so much about.
The first thing I write is my journal entry about how scared I am to do this writing. (I wrote about this last month.)
Then I begin. I write. It doesn’t have to be good. It only has to be done.
If you haven’t done this kind of scheduled writing before, keep the time short. Fifteen minutes is plenty to begin with.
Your lizard brain may tell you 15 minutes is nothing, but try it anyway. You’ll be surprised how much you can write in 15 minutes, especially when you don’t give yourself permission to edit along the way.
Schedule your 15 minutes of writing time and write. When the timer goes off or you notice 15 minutes has gone by, stop. You are done. You did what you said you would do. You kept a promise to yourself.
It doesn’t have to be good. This is not about quality. That’s for later, when you are editing.
When I resist writing writing down my writing time, or resist getting specific about what I want to write, that’s when I know I definitely need to schedule my writing time.
- Notice resistance to writing or even scheduling writing time.
- Schedule writing time anyway.
- Sit down and write at the appointed time, no matter how you feel about writing.
- Stop when your time is up.
- Close document or notebook.
What happens when you schedule your writing time?
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.