Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ways I make myself write (when I don't feel like writing)

Writers love writing. That's why we become writers. But even people who love writing sometimes find it hard to sit down and write. Why is that?

Sometimes the question is carving out the actual time to write. In that case, time management is the answer. (Here's one resource on the subject I really like.) 

But sometimes you have the time, and just don’t want to do it. Here’s how I make myself start typing anyway.

1) I look to the future. I’ll get up at six, say, and sit myself down in front of the computer. There’s my Word document, but there’s the Internet, looking all tempting. So I’ll look at the clock and I’ll say, “Jess, in an hour, everyone else is going to be awake. So, then, at seven, when the kids start drifting down, what do you want to have done? At seven’o’clock, are you going to wish you had an hour of writing to look back on?” The answer is always yes. I always wish I could look back and see time well-spent. Thinking about
what I want to look back on, rather than what I want to do right now, always helps me see the big picture.

2) I look at it as work. Writing is weird in that, until you get established, you’re not getting paid. You put in the time, but there’s no paycheck. Of course, if you get published, you get your money. Retroactively, it all becomes paid time. But until then, it can feel a lot more like a hobby than a job. So, feeling like it’s a hobby, you feel like it ought to be fun. But often, it’s not.

            You know what it actually feels like? Work. And you know what? Good. It is work. So I give myself permission to think of it as work. Then, weirdly, I’m okay if it feels like work. It takes the pressure off. I don’t have to like it; I just have to do it. It’s work. And I know how to work. So all of the sudden I’m not in a foreign country. I work all day, why should this be any different?

            Reframing it as work makes me really productive.

And then, weirdly, once I've given myself permission to not have fun . . . I start having fun again. Weird, right?    (No, I know, it's not weird at all. Isn't that the way this kind of thing always works?)

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

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