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The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question? How can you deal with resistance? If you have a question you’d like me to answer you can email me, tweet me @pubcoach, or leave a message for me at the Skype account, The Write Question.
How can you deal with resistance? That’s the topic I’m addressing today in The Write Question. I’m Daphne Gray-Grant, the Publication Coach.
I have a question from Faith Morgan, a writer based in Anaheim, California. Here’s what she’s asked by email…
“I’ve been hamstrung by resistance in the last few weeks, ever since I took a break from writing over Christmas. Until that point, I had a really good habit of writing for 45 minutes every day. Now, I just keep procrastinating and delaying and I don’t know what to do about the issue.”
Thanks for your question, Faith. Your problem is incredibly common after events like Christmas, Passover, Ramadan and summer holidays. It seems the habits we so diligently create get blown to smithereens after any break.
In fact, after years of working with writers, I’ve learned to always give explicit directions for what to do after such holidays. ‘Take the holidays,’ I say. ‘You need them and you’ll get a big benefit from them. But expect problems when you return to work.’
I’m not a negative Nancy. I’ve just found that if people expect problems, they’re better able to deal with them. And my solution is bracing in its simplicity: I suggest you cut your writing time in half. Yes, half.
In your case, Faith, this will mean writing for no more than 22 minutes. If you continue to feel any resistance, keep reducing the time — until the resistance is gone. Totally gone.
If this means committing yourself to write for no more than one minute, that’s perfectly okay. I know you’re probably going to tell me you won’t accomplish nearly enough in one minute. That’s barely enough time to turn on your computer! But it’s the start of a habit.
Your ONLY concern, at this point, should be protecting and building your habit. Don’t worry about how much time you log. Don’t worry about how many words you produce. And, certainly, don’t worry about the quality of your writing. Just focus on the habit.
Log your one minute of writing a day for one week and you can start increasing the time after that. Several years ago, I wrote a blog post on how to get back to writing after a break. See a link to that post in the show notes below.
Finally, let me wrap up with the words of writer Steven Pressfield in his wonderful book The War of Art, which you should really read: “If you find yourself asking, ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are that you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
Faith, the fact that you had a writing habit before Christmas gives me a great deal of confidence that you’ll have one again. You just need to build yourself back up to it slowly. Have a little faith that you’re going to be able to do exactly that.
Viewers, if you have any writing-related questions, I’d be happy to do a video on them. Just send me a quick email, email@example.com, or put a note in the comments section of this video.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how to make writing a happier and more rewarding process, check out my latest book Your Happy First Draft. I don’t sell it in bookstores or via Amazon. The only place to buy it is on my website, link on the screen below and in the show notes.