How I Got More Out of My Writing Process
Cogitating Is Not Procrastinating
I’ve tried every cure for consistent writing I’ve read about. The lure of quality has satisfied me enough, at least for this long while. Why bother writing everyday when I can produce decent quality on short notice? I’m just someone who doesn’t write every day, I said. The truth is I have always thought myself a writing fraud, though lazy better describes better my self-assessment. Why work hard when writing has never been that difficult for me? I’m not procrastinating, I’m cogitating! Right. Quiet as kept, the cogitating ate into my self-esteem and played right into my fears of ignominy. You know the one where you dream people will be reading your words 200 years into the future? That was me. But since I was cogitating and not writing, no one would read what I wrote in the future. How could they? Statistically I gave myself no chance. My output had been too low. That connection - between output and wider recognition -was lost on me. I was just someone who didn’t write every day. [Cue baby’s wail here.]
More is More
Recently I began lifting weights. Again. For like the upteenth time. A desire for a revision of my top surgery motivates me. I want to have as big and lean a chest as I can. This will be my last surgery, and I want to make it a big one. [Cue forehead hitting the desk.] Big Ones happen by doing Small Things frequently. That is to say, I achieve a fuller, leaner chest by working out x times per week for x weeks. Each workout is small. But over time the result is the Big One.
More muscles = more weekly work-out sessions.
This time the working out led me to the realization that writing is no different.
More writing = more output.
Regardless of the quality, my productivity goes up. In the world of goal vs process, the process of little steps every day leads to big goal outcomes. For example, writing 1,000 words 5 days a week (because writing is, after all, a job) for 49 weeks results in 245,000 words per year. That’s a lot of Big Ones. Like a novel or three; mucho blog entries; newsletters, etc.
The Little Becomes the Big
How I failed to grasp this reality is beyond me. Perhaps I just wanted to continue to feel shitty about myself. The old self-fulfilling prophesy thing, etc., etc. The whole thing is now so simple. I can write about 1000 words a day, five days a week. Easily. I exert no mental pressure as to what I will write about. As a lifelong opinionated blabber mouth means I rarely lack for anything to say. There is still no pressure. I write what I write. Even when I don’t feel like it. That’s another amazing thing. I finally understand why motivation and will power are terribly shifty friends, ready to flee when I most need them. It’s easier to show up and write than sit around wailing about what a loser I am and why my writing sucks and blah. Blah. Blah. On the days when I haven’t felt like writing, I’ve told myself to just write one sentence. And it works! The words start to come. I may not every produce anything of merit. My self-esteem though has begun to solidify. It’s like, “Yeah. I’m a writer. I write like it’s a job. Five days a week.” Each single, little day strung together is making for some big gains and realizations. I’m getting more out of my writing process because I’m putting more into it, a little each day.