One of life’s persistent problems — apart from finding the time to write that book you were meant to write — is doing things you don’t especially want to do.
It can be as mundane as getting up at 6:00 on Sunday morning, because you promised two friends you’d go running. Or it can be as important as writing your novel.
In the latter case, you may be thinking, UGH. I’m looking at 5,852 hours chained to my computer, trying to throw impossibly difficult scenes onto the screen — scenes between characters whose motivations I’m still unsure of.
But, could you envision somersaulting over those thoughts, so they become . . .
YIPPEE! I’ve got all morning to sharpen the three scenes I wrote last week, and then I can introduce that character I wanted to give a walk-on part to . . .
See what a difference a somersault makes?
It’s the fastest way to turn fear and loathing into excitement and absorption. For every area of your life, being able to flip from anticipating pure drudgery to anticipating pure fun is a very handy skill to have.
“Okay,” you say, “but how can I reliably do that?”
All you have to do is somersault into what you find exciting and enticing, or pleasurable and fun. Ask yourself, “Is there anything about this drudgery-filled task that I can flip? So I see it as something that I can’t wait to do?”
Take the first example. Suppose you look at getting up at 6:00 on a gorgeous Sunday morning as your chance to embrace all that blue sky and warm sunlight. Suppose you look at it as a sensuous experience. A chance to hear the birds sing, gaze at the vibrant reds and yellows of fall leaves, breathe crisp, fresh air. Doesn’t that feel like something worth getting out of bed for?
Perhaps that’s too easy. Let’s take something harder — your novel, for instance.
When faced with work that threatens to stretch on for an interminable amount of time — especially work that you’re not sure how to do — you may, like most of us, feel tempted to do anything else to avoid it.
Oh, wouldn’t tomorrow be a much, much better day to write? Always the wrong choice.
The right choice is to flip this writing task and see it differently. Is there any small, easily embraced aspect that excites you? Because you only need a spark of gleeful anticipation to get started. And once you’re absorbed in one sentence, two sentences, three, momentum takes over. You’re home free.
Let’s recap: You can flip your fear and loathing when facing what seems like sheer drudgery, IF you can find something about it that’s fun.
True, it may take a bit of imagination and creativity to do that. But isn’t that what being a writer is all about?
Here are some ways to flip into excitement — some “somersaults” to get you started:
- Find a word you like. Start there.
- Envision the end result. Your chapter – complex, compelling, and completed.
- Think about why you wanted to write your book in the first place. Type your reason onto a page. Tape the page above your computer monitor. Read it over three times. And feel your passion for your project return.
- Last resort: bribery. Two pages of writing gets you two hours of something you love doing that’s effort-free. Reading, for instance.
Don’t just use the somersault with writing. It’s good for anything that seems difficult, or daunting, or a tad uninviting to do.
Simply envision one small aspect of what you’d rather avoid as enticing. It’ll make everything in your life a whole lot easier. Not to mention, fun.