Writing a book on your to-do list, but you only see barriers and can't find the solutions you need to change your life and write?
I get it.
After working all day, spending as much time with my kiddo as possible, and tending to our homestead responsibilities, I felt brain-drained.
I told myself I had no time to write. I was far too tired.
But I consistently had plenty of time to binge a show on Netflix or scroll on social media.
Consuming media is different, I thought. TV and scrolling are mindless activities that don't require my big-brain energy.
See the problem?
That was a comforting lie I told myself to excuse my own ineptitude, my own self-defeat, my utter lack of progress.
Comprehending a story — whether in a novel or in an episode of something — takes brain power.
Scrolling social media, if not for my benefit, was detrimental to my spiritual health, at the very least.
Rampant vitriol from political content.
I used to spend a lot of time consuming and worrying about things I couldn't change. All that worry turned me into a bitter person who struggled to see solutions. A bitter person who was tired. A lot.
It was a conscious effort to change my perspective.
First, I had to acknowledge what I was doing to myself. Then, I had to acknowledge my power to change that reality. After that, I had to do the work to actually change.
It was hard, but it was worth the effort.
I no longer waste precious energy focused on problems because I'm too busy creating solutions.
- Writing three WIPs
- Working with authors I love
- Keeping my head on while breaking down barriers to progress.
None of this was easy at first, but it's just my day-to-day now.
You can't change your life until you're willing to change yourself.
Acting > Thinking
If you wait around for the perfect time to establish a new habit, you may find that the perfect time never seems to present itself.
I'm here to tell you that perfect timing is mostly a myth. Those who start at the "perfect time" start when they start.
They don't wait 'til the first of the year or the first of a new month. They pick a day and do it.
Like that time I picked a random Tuesday — true story — to stop smoking and never reached for my pack of cigarettes again.
Because when you decide to commit yourself to something, really decide in earnest that you want that thing, the discomfort of not having it will outweigh the discomfort of working to get it.
That's what mind over matter is all about.
Stop worrying about how in the hell you're going to build a writing habit and just build it instead.
Put the energy expenditure to good use.
Writing is hard work, and it takes people an average of 66 days to form a new habit.
Though you may be using your leisure time to write, a writing a book is not a leisure activity. You'll need deep focus free from distractions.
Here are some steps to take:
Acknowledge what you want. Say, out loud, that you will write your book.
Understand why you want it. Why do you want to write this book? Why now?
Find your focus hour. Locate that hour in your day you can dedicate to writing.
Protect your focus time. Block all distractions during your dedicated writing hour.
Do the work. Go to your writing space and write. For the whole hour. Even if it's crap. Because at some point, it won't be crap anymore.
Need more? Grab your DIY Story Coach packet, fill in the details to gain clarity and direction, and set yourself up for successful writing over the next 90 days.
After 90 days, you'll not only have formed your writing habit, but you'll also have — if not a complete first draft — a solid start to your book.
Though, consider holding off on calling it your magnum opus just yet. It'll need to be revised and published first.
In case you missed it . . .
POV: A Guide to Perspective in Fiction and Memoir is coming soon! I'm so excited to share my first craft book with you. Subscribe to the blog for updates to reserve your copy.
Find yourself stuck and wondering what comes next? Book a coaching call here. When we're done talking, I'll send you our call recording to watch again and again!
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Happy writing and editing!