Today’s the day you’re going to do it. You’re going to sit down and hammer out 1,000 elegant, perfect words of a blog post—maybe even one that will become a little piece in that big book you dream of writing. You’re determined to make it happen, come hell or high water.
So you sit at the keyboard.
Then you wonder what’s in the news.
Then you wonder what’s on Twitter.
Soon, you’ll do anything to avoid spending even a minute writing. What happened there? Why, if the spirit is so willing, is the flesh so weak?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. No one is lazy.
The title of this post ends with four words: “even if you’re lazy.” But the truth is, no one is truly lazy. Every single individual reading this post—including you— can build discipline over time.
In fact, some science suggests that your willpower is tightly correlated with your blood sugar. If you’ve ever tried to write while hungry, you understand this phenomenon perfectly well.
If you don’t want to be “lazy” anymore, here are a few tips for breaking out of that debilitating mindset:
- Take care of physiological needs first. Are you fed? Did you drink enough water? Did you wake up with an invigorating shower or exercise period? Take care of your physical needs before you sit down to do extensive mental work like writing.
- Start small. Think of discipline like a muscle. You aren’t going to compete with bodybuilders right out of the gate. You’ll have to lift smaller weights on a consistent basis before you can move up.
- Block out distractions. By far the best way to ensure that you don’t write today is by filling your life with distractions. Radio shows, podcasts, Internet surfing, fun YouTube links—close them all down just before you sit down to write.
2. Drop the illusion of perfection.
When I sit down to write, I do it based on time rather than the amount of work produced.
Time, rather than, productivity is a subtle distinction, but it’s powerful.
If all I have to do is write for a specified period, then I’m not straining. I’m merely sitting down and performing. Rather than hoping for 1,000 perfect words or one perfect blog post—“holding on to the illusion of perfection”—I focus on the act of writing itself.
Some days go better than others, it’s true. But this philosophy ensures there are no days where I sit down to write nothing. And in the world of discipline, doing nothing is the only enemy.
3. Get practical about discipline.
Enough with the philosophy. Let’s talk practical tips:
- Take two minutes to prepare for writing. You can do that, can’t you? Take the time to turn on StayFocusd, set some mood lighting, clean your desk, and turn on your favorite ambient sounds. Also, know what you plan to write; get clear about the subject or focus of your blog post. After just two minutes, you’ll be ready to write.
- Clean your desk. Do it. One simple act of cleaning builds productive momentum while simultaneously eliminating distractions.
- Aim small, and give yourself a break. Try just twenty, ten, five minutes of writing—whatever feels comfortable enough to get you started.
If you do it right, you may even find that you’re “in the zone” by the end of your writing session and you don’t want to stop. You might discover you’ve been writing for an hour instead of 15 minutes or finished an entire post.
The key to discipline lies in understanding that starting isn’t half the battle. It’s about 75% of it. Going from “cold” to “warm” takes energy, which is why we procrastinate. But when you learn how to trick yourself into warming up, you’ll be a lot more productive—and hopefully, your writing and blog will benefit.
How do you get yourself to write daily? Leave me 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
Image copyright: 5132824 / Pixabay.com