I would like to always feel like the man on the picture certainly does. Head out in the blue, surrounded with a crystal clear bubble of buzzing ideas. But, as I suspect you already know, writing doesn’t always feel this way.
While there are elaborate strategies to force yourself to be productive even when the muse is not around — this is not what I’ve come to talk about today. What I want to share are specific thoughts that fuel my writing. Even though I am usually not the biggest advocate of positive thinking or purposefully reinforcing any kind of mental interpretations of the world.
But the resistance to writing is a somewhat special topic. I already know that writing is what I want to do, no matter what — and I suspect I might be doing it for as long as I physically can. I know that the resistance I sometimes feel is just me sabotaging myself. And I also know that there are certain thoughts in my head, sitting there and waiting to be remembered.
These thoughts are actually not just thoughts — they are my beliefs. And for now, I don’t know how to live without them. Especially that they seem to benefit my writing, provided that I manage to remind myself of them.
So, whenever I need to remember that my writing undeniably makes sense — I reach out and grab one of these thoughts that seem to support me.
- If I can’t make it today, I can always make it tomorrow. Writing is not a race for me. It is too valuable to rush it and burn out to fast. Knowing this, I can take it easy on myself if I don’t accomplish a writing goal for today. Tomorrow there’s always — at least until I die — another day.
- I am always doing the best I can with what I have at any given moment. In other words, not everything in life depends on me. As long as I am trying my best — and I know I am — everything is just fine. Looking at it that way helps me forgive myself even for a whole day of distracted mind-wandering or skipping writing altogether when I feel sick. There’s only so much a person can do. I accept my own limitations.
- Remember where I was a year ago with my writing. When I look at my progress day-to-day, it may seem that I am not moving forward that much. But when I compare today with where I was last year? Man, what a difference. Congrats!
- If all I do in an article is express myself, that’s already quite something. I mean — not every piece has to be a masterpiece. In fact, it cannot be. Similarly, not all my articles have to be full of references, taking each perspective into account and claiming that I know best. Of course I don’t — this is why I write. I dig for the truth even if I never reach it, and that’s already enough. If I manage to say one authentic thing in a 10-minute read, I think it was worth it.
- I don’t have to concern myself with the whole article — it’s enough to complete this paragraph. And then do the same with the next one. And the next one. Thinking about the whole piece all at once can feel overwhelming. And when it does, I like to remind myself that there is absolutely no need to do this to myself. This is the power of short assignments: it takes so much pressure off of my mind and facilitates the processing of information.
- Imagine that if things went a little differently, I could now be sitting in an office and following somebody’s orders. And this is not to say that office work is inherently bad. I’ve done it, and I would do it again if I had to. I know there were times I was very close to choosing that path. But freelance writing somehow won my heart, despite a lot of fear, laziness and initial resistance. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
- I can always take a break. See above — there is nobody hovering behind my back telling me what to do. I am the queen of my work time. And whenever I need a break, I can just have it.
- Okay… so you don’t feel like pursuing this writing thing. I see. Then tell me: what would you rather be doing? Can I come up with one job/career/activity/mission that I would prefer over writing?
I hear silence. That’s the most powerful one — because when I ask it, I realise that a big reason why I write is that I don’t see any other way for myself. If I didn’t write, how would my life be better without it?
Silence again. So I just smile inwardly and I go back to writing. This is how lucky I am.