Most of the time stuff I need to do that is good for me is unpleasant to carry out. Eating right means foregoing a lot of stuff I love to consume – pizza, ice cream, corn nuts, the list is endless. Working out means being out of breath, sweating profusely, sore muscles, and the dread knowledge that another session is just around the corner. Writing involves staring at a blank page (or screen) and wondering where I’m going to find 4,000 to 5,000 words for my next chapter. Then, as I do find them, attempting to ignore that damned internal editor when I type them out.
The rewards – slimmer body, toned muscles, and a first draft – are worth it in the end, but seem so distant when I’m eating cottage cheese instead of pizza, doing reps, or forcing words down on to the page.
The key, I have discovered, is goal-setting and developing habits. Nothing ground breaking there, I know. But it’s one thing to read about goal setting and developing habits, quite another to set your own goals and develop the habits to reach those goals.
Lying works for me.
I lie to myself all the time when working towards my goals. When I work out I always say to myself “Just one more set, then I’ll quit.” I do this even when I’ve set a goal of four sets (or 30 reps, or 10 minutes). I know I’m lying when I say it, but it does help me to push forward.
Writing works the same way. I’ll sit down in front of the screen and say to myself. “All I need to do is write 50 words for today and then I can quit.” Once the first 50 is out, I repeat the lie again and again.
Lying to myself has enabled me to reach some of my fitness goals. I’m at the point where I now go to work out regardless of whether or not I want to (and really, I rarely want to).
Writing is bit more of a problem. Once I have started, the lying strategy works for producing words. My current problem is actually developing the habit of sitting down to write, the way I now go to work out regardless of how enthusiastic I am about the prospect.
I’ll get there though; I’m working on an elaborate fabrication to get me to sit down and pound out the words.
What tricks do you use to write when you don’t feel like it?