Work avoidance is one of the major paradoxes of the writing profession. Generally, writers want to write (or want to have written), but all too often we find ourselves doing anything else but. We'll mow lawns, do the dishes, polish silverware--anything to keep from facing the blank page. At the same time we know we eventually have to get to work, so we come up with all sorts of strategies for forcing ourselves to the keyboard.
So begins an article by Jerry Oltion, "50 Strategies for Making Yourself Work." What he says above is true. And the strategies he provides to battle work avoidance are excellent.
Here are a couple of Oltion's strategies that I particularly like:
- Keep written goals, and revise them daily. (Production goals, not sales goals, which you can't control.) Rewriting them every day helps you focus on each one and think about what you can do at the moment to further it along.
- If you've been sitting on an idea until you think you're good enough to do it justice, do it now! You may be run over by a bus tomorrow. Even if you aren't, by the time you think you're good enough, the passion for it will be gone. Write it now! Write all your good ideas as quickly as you can after you get them. Don't worry about getting more; they'll come faster and faster the more you write. Before you know it, you'll be begging people to take them, like a gardener with zucchini.
- Pay yourself an hourly wage for time worked, and don't allow yourself leisure activities (movies, dinner out, etc.) unless you can pay for it with this writing money.
Read all 50 strategies and be as prolific as you dare to dream.