Fantasy author George R.R. Martin once said he didn’t love writing, but he loved having written. The truth is, you can be an experienced blogger or author, but you will always have to face yourself in one inevitable battle:
Getting yourself to write when you really, really don’t want to.
But this isn’t just a post exclusively about the act of writing. It’s a post about winning the battle discipline requires in all things—whenever you know you should do something, but you don’t want to. How do you get to the other side when everything inside you screams, “It’s okay. Just go eat ice cream instead”?
Tip #1: Start Small
Author Ernest Hemingway used to start his writing sessions by reviewing what he’d written the day before. Ostensibly, this was to work himself into a nice lather so he could continue writing with a consistent voice. Undisciplined authors will find this habit useful for sitting down and doing the work as well.
It’s a concept some psychologists call “inertia”: the momentum of your daily activities. Yes, if you remove yourself from eight hours of sleep, one hour of lollygagging, and one hour of Internet surfing, sitting down and writing on demand will seem like an ambitious chore. But if you spend even five minutes returning to review your work, you may find yourself coming up with a new idea you absolutely have to write down now rather than later.
That’s inertia at work.
The key takeaway: don’t be afraid to start small, because starting is half the battle.
Tip #2: Make it Routine
Blogging is a particular kind of writing; readers expect scheduled regular content from of you, and this is all the more true as you blog your book. That can work to your advantage.
Make writing—even if it’s just a little bit of writing every day—a part of your routine. Do some writing while you wait for your water to boil. Do some writing while your laundry tumbles around in the drier. If you can find a way to fit writing into a routine, you’ll find those nooks and crannies in the day that make it possible to continue to build your book and blog.
Tip #3: Set the Stage
The actor Matthew McConaughey once revealed this workout tip to Men’s Health:
Just tie your shoes.
The idea is simple: if you tie your shoes, you’ve already entered “I’m going outside” mode. You’re no longer thinking about what you can do on the couch. Instead, you’ve activated some portion of your brain that says, “it’s time to run.”
You can do the same with blogging a book. Set the stage. Close out all of those extraneous tabs. Dim the lights if it makes you focus more. Use an app like RescueTime to give yourself concentrated periods of focused effort. Do everything possible to make writing more comfortable and to feel like you have started.
By the time you’re done “tying your shoes,” or, in your case, opening up your favorite word-processing program, chances are, you’ll want to run—er, write.
How do you get started when writing or blogging feels tough? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Dan Kenitz is a freelance writer and ghostwriter from Wisconsin who helps individuals and companies build their brands through valuable content. www.empirewriter.com