You've probably heard this story before about how I used to write articles.
As the story goes, it used to take me two days to write a single article. The process was so painful, that I'd write the next article after a month. And as you'd expect, two days of that month and all the months to follow, were miserable as well.
Then I started up a membership site called 5000bc
And 5000bc was bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard, back in the year 2003. So I promised my members I'd write five articles a week. Of course, you can see the disaster unfolding, can't you? If I struggled to write an article a day, five article a week was going to send me right to the cuckoo club.
But something weird happened instead.
I got faster
I found that the more I had to write, the faster I got. Every week, those five articles needed to be written (whether any one read them or not) and so I forced myself to write. And I did mention that it got faster, but it also got easier. Hah, now how on earth would that make sense? But it does, doesn't it?
If you run from your home to your supermarket, with all your sides jiggling, it's going to be huff and puff all the way. But do that every day, and then extend it to five times a week, and voilà, the jiggles go away. My jiggles were mostly in my brain. The more I wrote, the faster I became.
And then I went on vacation
And as you do on vacation, you take a break. You eat, drink and make merry. And return to what seems to be a writer's block. But of course, that makes sense too. If you run every day, then don't run for a month, you're bound to feel the resistance. So I decided to keep writing.
I didn't write about work on vacation. I wrote a diary instead. It was interesting to write the diary and most importantly, my writing never stopped.
But would you have to write every single day of your life just to avoid this silly blockage?
Good question. And it's one I asked myself as well. And the answer is, thankfully, no. I now go on vacation, and if I don't write a word, I can come back and get right into writing without missing a beat. So what's happened? How have things changed?
What's happened over the years, is that I've written so much that it's now no longer a skill
It's second nature. And just like you'd go to a foreign country, speak their language and come back to your own country and pick up speaking English once again. So it is with article writing. If you keep at it, you will get better and at some point it will become second nature.
You'll be able to take chunky breaks.
But for now, you need to write
Write when you're feeling great.
Write when you're feeling down.
Write about your work. Or just write about your miserable, freakin' day.
But write. If you don't write, resistance creeps in. You hear the jiggle.
You know you're doomed
Un-doom yourself. Just write.
Breaks are for the jiggly ones!
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As someone who has always found writing very easy, I have a hard time empathizing with those who agonize over it, but Sean, what you have said here is 100% true. Even though writing comes easy to me, I was very surprised to discover that the newspaper job I had really helped me meet deadlines. I had to write 12 stories a week, and it was a grueling job, but now I can sit down at any moment, spend a few minutes getting into the zone, and I’m writing away. To paraphrase that sporting goods company–“Just Write It.”
Thanks again for the encouragement, advice and wisdom Sean!
Sean D'Souza says
You’re welcome. It’s like anything in life. If you stop long enough, you get into a bit of a rut. Especially when you’re not super-good at it. But even if you are the laws of momentum do kick in.
Thank you for the article on writing. I am constantly impressed at how you have thought things through. I was writingvery regularly, and I dropped off, and now, yes! I am finding it hard to reengage. But I will – this is a business skill worth developing.
I recently listened to one of your audios, given away a couple of years ago. It was something like 33 audios, 3 days of training, a huge benefit. On one of the last audios, you ask, why were you born?
Sort of a what is your mission in life question. It was great. Very focusing. You have a talent, thank you for sharing it with us.
Sanjay Shetty says
I received this blog post in my mailbox on the 18th. I’m not sure why but it kicked me into action and I decided I need to write a blog post everyday. No excuses.
Despite this being a challenge it was multiplied by the fact that I have two blogs 🙂 one for work(http://blogs.communitiesrus.in/communityconnect) and the other a personal blog about visualization (http://vizcraft.wordpress.com/)
But I had already decided, so no excuses, I’ll write two blog posts a day and I’ve kept a target of at least till the 28th of this month as I’m on a break after that for some personal stuff.
It’s just been two days and I’ve written four blog posts. Feels freaking good, even though it’s past 1:00 A.M. and I’ve been up since 5:00 A.M. 🙂
and I have to be up in another four hours 🙂
Just thought I’d let you know and thank you for the inspiration to WRITE.
“Write when you’re feeling great.
Write when you’re feeling down.
Write about your work. Or just write about your miserable, freakin’ day.
But write. If you don’t write, resistance creeps in.”