There are days when I don’t feel like writing.
If we’re going to be perfectly honest about it, there are many days when I don’t feel like writing.
In fact, there hasn’t been a single day in recent memory in which I bounded out of bed just dying to get my hands on a pen or the computer keyboard, my head bursting with the desire to write, to get something – anything – down on the page.
This suddenly struck me as peculiar one day after a solid, five-hour stint of work. I had gone from a business project to my journal to the business project again to the journal again to some blogging, and after the blogging, I’d be heading back to the journal again.
You know what? I feel great.
Before I’ve actually begun writing, there is no way I remember how good it feels to write. It isn’t possible. If I had this feeling of exuberance and accomplishment and sheer genius poised in my mind, ready to incite me to new heights, I wouldn’t spend my entire morning screwing around on various blogs and videos and social media accounts.
Yet I do.
Here’s the even more peculiar part: I have never once spent five hours screwing around (in that way, not the other way) and felt as good about it as I do about writing for five hours.
In fact, I tend to feel terrible about screwing around. I feel sluggish and useless and kind of like a failure as a freelancer. It’s a grubby sort of feeling that needs to be cleansed away by lots of new writing work.
So why do I seek out the lousy feeling instead of the awesome one?
I have no idea. I’m embarking on an experiment, and I’d like to invite all of you delightful people to join me: Let’s see if we can keep the delicious feeling of writing in the forefront of our minds when we’re about to procrastinate. Let’s further see if we can’t keep that vaguely impotent, disgusting feeling of screwing around up there in the frontal region too.
Let’s see if we can’t convince ourselves that it is more pleasurable to write than to screw around.
This shouldn’t be that hard to do. I mean, if I feel lousy when I screw around and I feel great when I write, this seems like a pretty obvious conclusion. It’s kind of like asking me if I’d rather win a free meal at a great restaurant or eat a hunk of cold unseasoned chicken as my only meal during the day I spend in some seriously rainy woods.
I’m sure there’s some outdoor adventurer who would prefer the latter, but not me.
And yet, somehow, I consistently choose the lousy option over the great option. Either I am a masochist, or I am stupid enough that I don’t make this connection every single day when I sit down to the computer, that writing brings me more joy than not writing.
I am pretty sure I am not a masochist.
So let’s find out if I’m stupid.
And hey! As long as I’m finding out if I’m stupid, wouldn’t you like to join me? I thought so. Thank you.
Here’s the plan: The next time you finish a great long stint of writing, I want you to do one of three things:
- Write down how great you feel. Don’t just think it; write it.
- Take a quick audio recording of you talking about how great you feel
- Take a picture of yourself looking REALLY exuberant and thrilled. Possibly giving a thumbs-up.
Whichever you think will motivate you more.
Now, put that paragraph, or audio file, or picture, somewhere you can access it easily. The next time you catch yourself screwing around, I want you to read it, listen to it, or stare at it. Then I want you to THINK about it for the next full minute.
A minute, for those of you who have never done anything purposely for that amount of time, is a really long time.
Just think about it. And see if you can’t convince yourself that writing is a better use of your time than whatever it is you are doing.
I will be embarking on this experiment as well, using the triple-whammy of all three forms of media. Go forth, my faithful followers! Become strong! Become valiant! Become smarter than I have been capable of being up until this moment in time!
(Is it bad that I know that phrase is summarized as “jusqu’à” in French, but have no idea what it should be in Old English? I keep thinking it’s hereforward, but that’s not right, that’s the other way round . . . Prove your smartness, dear readers. Help me find that phrase I’m looking for.)