It happened again a few weeks ago. It’s not happening that often, but I want to assure you, it happens. I woke up a little later than my normal routine that’s been so productive this year. My dog woke me up twice the night before, once at 10:30 and again at 2:30. He must have eaten something that didn’t agree with him, he had diarrhea the previous afternoon. I’m thankful he’s a good dog and woke me instead of painting the room. His predecessors weren’t so accommodating.
But something has changed in me. It’s the understanding that even if I don’t want to write, I will do it. I will hit a minimum count. And I did. That’s what professionals do. That’s what I do in my day job. How many days have you not wanted to go to work this week? Yet we all still do because they pay us, and “we need this job,” and I have people who rely on me, and I can’t let people down.
I need my writing like my life depends on it
I need my writing every day, even if my psyche doesn’t feel all that inspired or important one day, or two, or for a whole week.
I did an experiment on myself a few weeks ago. I planned out each day’s writing to see if I could force myself to write set scenes each day. I did some rough planning on a story for a novel and outlined scenes that I’d need to have to get from point A to point B in the novel. I did great the first week. I have seven beginnings of scenes that didn’t exist. Pretty awesome for an idea that’s been rambling around in my head for years.
The second week, I did more of the same and only made it to Thursday before the scene didn’t grab me. Neither did the one after it. So I gave up on the idea of writing scenes and went back to the stack of ideas I keep in an Evernote folder. I didn’t even write this article during that phase, I just wrote the title down in my idea folder and then wrote about sleep and routines, something I was accusing my lack of motivation on.
Motivation isn’t the key
But it wasn’t the lack of motivation that was responsible for my not wanting to write. I deviated from my habit. I woke up late because I had to get up and take the dog out twice. So I fumbled through my daily writing, wrote 622 words about sleep being important, and started my normal day.
The next day, I got back to my routine, wrote 800+ words on one topic, and then went back to address why I didn’t want to write the day before and how and why I dealt with it.
Because I did deal with it. I sat my grumpy ass down and wrote until I got my minimum word count. Because if this was a job, that’s what I’d have to do. That’s what the minimum expectation would be, and I would do it because I have a crazy work ethic.
Back to the initial problem, why didn’t I want to write? What rule of physics had I broken that caused me to not “feel like it” that fateful day?
Ideas are the daily fuel
Nothing. It was the ideas. I have written 10 scenes for my story, and the last few were weak. They are weak because I haven’t really learned how to plan out a long story yet. It made me realize that I need to put more thought into the novel, and really think about where the characters are going, what the critical events are, etc. I needed more planning. My subconscious was telling me that my story was a piece of shit.
It manifested in my not wanting to write.
But because I have a decent habit set, I just moved on, went back to grab a topic and did my minimum word count and got through the day.
And one day later, I wrote my daily count on another subject, why I don’t watch the news anymore, knocked that out, and saw this little teaser of a title sitting in my ideas folder. My mind jumped at this one, and screamed, “Oh I know why you didn’t want to write!!!” I was Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, “Oooh, Oooh, Oooh!”
So I let the beast out of its cage. And I learned two things about myself.
I need good ideas, ones that interest me, to really get the creative juices flowing.
I need to stick to the routine as best I can. That’s now 4 AM. Did I mention I’m not a morning person?
This makes 145 days I’ve written every single day, at least 500 words. Today, I’ve nearly tripled that amount. That’s 72,500 words since January 1st at the very least.
I owe it all to building my daily habit. Free eBook coming soon around how I did that.
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