Do you ever find that day after day you talk yourself out of sitting down to write, I have a quick tip: Write first thing in the morning.
Research shows that we have a finite amount of willpower which wears off over the course of each day with all the decisions we have to make. You’ve probably heard of decision fatigue. This occurs when we have to make so many decisions – both big and small. Gradually, the quality of our decision making gets worse as the day wears on. And our willpower weakens too.
So if there is something really important you want to get done on any given day – perhaps it’s some work on your novel or screenplay – maybe it’s reaching out to an agent or producer that you’ve been putting it off – or perhaps it’s something else that’s hard but important, that you keep pushing to the bottom of your to do list – try doing it first thing in the morning. I know from personal experience, that this works for me.
How I struggled
In the past, before I turned my writing practise into a habit, I frequently found that I would put off getting on with writing. I’d say to myself – if I get the shopping out of the way first, then I’ll be free to get on and write.
Then I’d come back from shopping and say – I’ve just remembered, I’d better clean the bathroom, I’ll feel more relaxed when that’s out of the way. Then after that I’d say – well now it’s lunch time, I won’t be able to think straight until I’ve had something to eat.
But after lunch I would feel a bit sleepy, so I’d say – a brisk walk round the block will wake me up, then I’ll feel ready to write. And on and on it would go, until eventually, at around 5 o’clock, I’d say, well it’s far too late to start writing now. Much better to start tomorrow, when I feel fresh and inspired. And that would be that, another day without writing done.
But I now know that on days when writing feels really hard, especially if I’m struggling with some aspect of my story, and I don’t really want to deal with it, one of the best things I can do is sit down first thing in the morning and simply get on with it, even if it means staring into space for a while. That way, I know it’s most likely to get done. Plus, it gives me such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when I can tick my writing off my list first thing in the morning. No matter what else happens that day, I know that I’ve already achieved something significant. A burst of creativity. It’s wonderful!
If you’re able to develop a daily writing habit, by the way, you won’t need to tap into your willpower supply at all, because your habit just kicks in without any need to make a decision. I shared a couple of strategies for developing a daily writing habit here, check them out if you haven’t already seen this article.
But if you don’t yet have a daily writing habit, give this a try and write first thing in the morning, before doing anything else on your to do list.
I hope you found this helpful. Do let me know how you get on. And if there’s anything in your writing that you’re struggling with, get in touch as I might be able to address your issue in a future post.
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