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Monday, October 3, 2011

Procrastinating When We Write

We're writers. We love writing. We live for words and have characters and stories popping into our heads when people around us ask, "Where do you get your ideas?" So why do we put it off? Why do we sometimes find ourselves mopping the kitchen floor on hands and knees rather than going to the keyboard?

Seth Godin (I'll give you a link on Wednesday) has written a great blog on resistance. He has a wonderful theory that connects to the amygdala in our brains and translates to primitive fear. For now, just picture George McFly, from the original "Back to the Future," refusing to send in his manuscript with the words, "What if it's not good enough? What if they don't like me?"

Excuses are like belly buttons: Everybody has one. Some of us (creative souls that we are) can come up with several. That isn't getting the writing done.

So far as I'm aware, there is one way -- and one way only -- to overcome the fear that leads to resistance, procrastination, and ultimately, failure. The answer is ... (wait for it) ... butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, mind in gear. The self-discipline necessary to sit down and go to work -- whether or not we feel inspired, whether the muse is with us, whether or not the weather is good and Mercury is properly aligned -- is the way to overcome resistance, fear, and failure.

I give myself this lecture several times a week, sometimes several times a day. Maybe it will help you, too.

What works to keep you motivated?

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