Sometimes I feel like a petulant child when I sit down to write. “I don’t want to write,” the child complains. “I want to play games and have fun.”
I’ve tried to discipline the child and tell her that this is for her own good, that she needs to buckle down and get her work done, but she protests even more. I set up rules for her to write so many words, and I promise her a treat if she complies. Or I tell her that she can play a game when she’s been at the keyboard for at least thirty minutes. But she whines and procrastinates and fails to produce anything of value.
But wait, I think. I need to use a little of Tom Sawyer’s fence-painting approach. “Hey,” I say. “Wouldn’t it be fun to write that story you’ve been thinking about? Wouldn’t you like to see that piece published? You can do it if you choose to.”
And that’s the hook. I’ve given her a choice. I’ve outlined for her the value of making this choice.
Are you sitting down to write and establishing rules for your compliance? Are you finding that the child inside you is resisting your attempts to do the adult thing and get your work done? Perhaps, you, too, need to use a little Tom Sawyer psychology and let your inner child know that this is not a command, but a choice. And it can be a fun choice.
First, outline in your mind all the benefits of writing. You’ll see your book in print. You’ll be able to grow your business, get booked for those high profile speaking engagements, garner media attention. Find the benefit that is most compelling and latch onto that.
Next, outline in your mind the fun parts of writing. You’ll lose yourself when you get in the flow. You’ll discover some new ideas. You’ll enjoy the mental game of finding the ideal word or phrase.
Now, review the things you thought you wanted to do instead of write. Is playing one more round of Free Cell really that fun? Aren’t you getting tired of having your friend kick your butt in Words with Friends? Isn’t your desk clean enough?
Now, make a choice. Choose to write.
See, it wasn’t that hard. And now it’s done. And now you have something to show for your time and effort. Now you have that chapter written.
Choose to write.
What do you do to encourage your petulant child to choose to write? How can you change “I have to write” to “I get to write”?