I think all writers have something that pulls them out of procrastination and launches them into Getting Shit Done (GSD) mode. I know what mine is. I wonder if you know what yours is.
Most of the time I don’t need one. I just decide to do something and do it. I’ve created over 100 websites this way. I’ve written 25 books this way. I got a 5 year master’s degree in psychology in 4 years. I’ve studied and passed a dozen or so Microsoft exams to become a product expert and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. I’ve passed a number of real estate exams in Florida, Hawaii, and online. I’ve never really had a problem with finding motivation to GSD. When I was interested or figured I needed to do something, I just did it. That was it.
Lately, over the past year or so since I finished my last fiction book, I noticed I just don’t have the motivation to write any longer. Writer’s block I guess. Or just boredom maybe? Over the past few years, since 2007, I’ve written millions of words in books and articles for my websites. I still have a lot to say, but I guess I fear writing books that matter.
I’ve been holding off on writing this next book for years now. I’ve built it up in my mind to be the book to end all books. It’s a “Big Book.” You might have heard me mention that phrase before. It’s a big project that will take a large chunk of my time and all my best effort. When I say it that way, I realize, I’ve never put my all into something. This will be putting my ALL into something. This next book will be the test of what I am made of really.
That’s scary as shit.
And yet, I’ve finally hit my trigger and am getting it done.
The trigger that yanks you out of procrastination and gets you writing could be one of many things. Here are some that I think work for a lot of writers:
- fear of poverty
- fear of letting loved ones down
- watching ‘the dream’ go down the toilet with each passing day
- fear of letting self down
- anticipation of income
- burning emotional desire to write it
- deadline (for a publisher or other deadline)
- expected accolades
- comparing own writing to others
- encouraging feedback from readers of your other books
If you’re really stuck and can’t sit down at the computer to start cranking your book out it can be depressing. I’ve never been depressed in my life, but over the past while that I haven’t started this book, I’ve noticed that I’m depressed about it. I’m sort of killing myself inside a little bit with each passing day that I don’t begin writing.
I find other things to do. I’ve been working sporadically on photography and shooting video projects since I’m not writing. I tease myself with creating new ideas for other businesses, traditional brick and mortar, or internet businesses. I tell myself these other projects have a better chance of success than the Big Book I want to write. And so it goes. I put it off and get busy doing other stuff.
The other day I made myself sit down and take a hard look at what procrastinating was doing to me and to my family. It was killing my dreams. It was killing our options. We need money for a lot of things. I don’t write that book, we aren’t making enough money. Writing is the only way I can bridge the gap between what we need and want, and what we have. I’m sure of that.
I started to get pissed at myself.
That’s my trigger. If I piss myself off, then I can move mountains. This I’ve known for decades. I’m strongly motivated by anger. When I’m angry, I can do anything I set my mind to.
I got really angry at myself and felt the anger. I let it sizzle for a while. I cursed myself. I hit myself in the head. I berated myself with internal dialogue that would make satan blush.
There is no way in hell I’m NOT writing this book.
It’s a done deal. I’m
3,800 9,100 14,200 words into it and I’ll do whatever it takes to finish it quickly. This will be the best book I can put out at this time. I think I have a great book in me… a couple maybe. I know one of the topics, it’s this one. I have the time, the supportive wife, I have the freedom to work on it daily for 5-6 hours each day. I have the intelligence. I have the tools. I have the computer, and the fingers to bang it out. I have the ability to keep it straight in my head and really produce something from a perspective that few or nobody else on the planet is coming from.
I’m sure of all of this.
This book will be done with a first draft within two months. With editing and all we should see it by the end of the year. If it all comes together smoothly, it could be out by late October early November.
If you’re currently stuck procrastinating with writer’s block or whatever you want to call it. You must figure out your trigger to Getting Shit Done, and you must pull it over and over until you break out of complacency, of mediocrity.
My brother gave me a quote on chat one time…
You know, the recordings playing in your head trump confidence, environment, opportunity… everything… until you somehow break that wall down.
I have it on a notecard on my wall behind my computer so I see it all the time. It’s beside a photo of my son who is 10,000 miles away with his mother and another photo of an 8 year old boy I was “Big Brother” to for a couple of years in Tampa. These are all next to part of an email I printed from a friend – J. Boedeker who shared something mind-blowing with me about a time in his life when it all went to shit and he had to decide whether to keep pushing and make it back home, or give up and let the bullet that ripped through his torso end his life.
Your mind is a powerful naysayer. It’s a bitch of a burden and an enemy at the worst time.
Fight against it with whatever you have… fear, guilt, want of a better life… or anger.
Pull that trigger until your finger falls off, then pull it again with the next finger. Use your toes. Use your nose, teeth and tongue. Pull the fucking trigger until your mind is doing what you INSIST it does.
Don’t stop pulling until it’s all sorted.
[Image from Jakob Renpening at flickr.com]