It’s time I had a heart-to-heart with the elusive writer in me.
It frustrates me. I love to write; I enjoy using written words to create and express myself. I love thinking about ideas that would make good articles; I love imagining narratives that would unwind into prolific stories and novels. I spend many hours of the day transposed mentally into a writer’s mind-frame, always prognosticating new thoughts for the page. What I love most is considering myself a writer. That image provides a constant flow of positive energy and enthusiasm throughout the day.
But here is my conundrum, my tiring paradox of sorts: my motivation to sit down and write is lackluster at best. I struggle with constant procrastination and lack of zeal when it comes to diligently put ideas in the form of a structured piece of writing. I can brainstorm a thousand and one ideas while walking at the park or waiting for my food delivery to reach the house, yet straightening myself with focused writing time provides a real challenge. I think of any excuse to get myself out of writing(good excuses as well). I read for hours; I do research and practice language learning; I exercise; all beneficial activities that improve my place in the world. Because of all this, I sideswipe the most important activity, writing, and this belligerent, self-mutilating practice must stop.
I want writing to be the centerpiece of my day, not a project that needs resolving to feel satisfied. The reality behind the bouts of procrastination is that once I begin writing, I fall in love with it again and can barely pull myself away from it. What is going on here, and how can I resolve this internal conflict?
Write every single day.
Unfortunately, I have fallen out of this essential habit. The last five months have seen me focus more rigorously on structured writing instead of daily journaling of unedited thoughts. While the move to publishing is an important step and a prerequisite to success and achievement, I must return to that simple rule and ritual: to write something every day. Let’s call it the writer’s rust, one that grows quickly and malignantly when the machine is not well-serviced or maintained. By writing every day, rust does not accumulate, and the tools retain a sharpness, an edge.
Confidence is everything with writing: it is easy to gain or to lose. Momentum can string together confidence and propel the writer forward. Absence rips this confidence apart. I often find myself wavering with doubt after a long pause from writing, almost clueless and as though I’ve forgotten how to place words coherently, creatively together in succession. By writing every day, I can install a level of proficiency and confidence in the task, making the process more inviting and attractive.
Internal tip to myself #1: Write something every day!
Focus less on being read, more on being true, and consistent.
The publishing trap can be heartbreaking. How does one sincerely measure success against algorithms and platforms that transparently rank content? My article received 3 views while his 1000. Is his article 333 times better than mine? How does a writer break the humble walls of Internet publishing where articles get shared and published to very little attention or feedback, at least at the very beginning? It seems natural to allow insecurities to seep through the cracks when the mirrored realities of other writers are of abject differences. Why should I bother writing about this great idea when only 3 people are likely to glance at it?
I should focus all of my attention entirely on the art of writing, on being true to what my ideas are wishing to broadcast. Thinking about the audience is toxic, especially in the early beginning when none even exists yet. As I write, I must harness the energy to write efficiently first. Every new sentence is a building block- a wrung of a ladder up to the heavens. Think less about being great, more about being true, and consistent with the words.
Internal tip to myself #2: Think less about being read, more about being true, and consistent!
Start small, finish big!
Internal mind games are among the most productive life-hacks available to combat human inefficiency and lethargy. The stealthiest weapon against procrastination lies in playing ruses on the mind. Since my biggest battle is finding the motivation to sit down and begin typing, I can author a way around it. (Pun intended) The idea does not require laborious intent; planning, writing, and editing an article is a tremendous task, one that requires time and concentration. At the dawn of a new article, it is easy to lose motivation and vigor. A simple approach is internalizing small goals such as a paragraph or a few hundred words to get going. The output almost always exceeds the intended expectation(as I mentioned earlier, once I fall into momentum with writing, it’s easy and tremendously enjoyable). Getting started is the problem. The simple mind-trick of convincing myself that I only need to write a paragraph gets me into a groove, and the adrenaline carries forward into a full article or more.
Internal tip to myself #3: Start small
I began writing more than an hour ago with little intrinsic motivation, my focus wavering towards other activities. I sat down without any direction or expectation, unsure whether I would be able to persist with any form of structured writing. But the simple act of getting to the page opened up a sluice of moving words, and the momentum has quickly carried me into a piece of writing that is useful and true to what I believe. In following practical steps, I can battle the furious winds of procrastination and fall quickly into a fluid course of writing. It isn’t hard and can inherently become practice and routine. All it needs is a start.