How to built a friendly relationship with your writing project (and stop sleeping with the enemy)

When it’s been quite a long time since you’ve stopped doing things the way you used to, that is when your routine has been disrupted, feelings of regret might get overwhelming. When things don’t go as planned, either because life happens, or because you’re too lazy to stick to your schedule, regret comes roaring in and, again, prevents you from moving.

One of the ways to get out of this vicious circle of guilt and self-pitying is to ask oneself the question: when did my writing project become my worst enemy?

  • When I stopped writing consistently and allowed myself not to write, even for an hour, every day.

Writers write, it’s just how it is. There is no shortcut and no way around it. Calling yourself a writer and not writing every chance you get is the same as, for instance, calling yourself a wife or a husband but cheating on your other half five days a week, only to be loving and present on the weekends. Relationships don’t work that way, and writing (whether it is a novel or a dissertation) is a relationship. And when you cheat, well, that’s not a good one, and chances are, it’s not a real one.

  • When I lost track of the big picture. 

I’ve written earlier that one of the ways to push yourself might be not to dwell on the big picture (and even forget it while you’re writing), but the only way to go back to writing is to never let go of the bigger picture. When you go through your day, when you make the choice of staying up late and watch movies, you have to keep the big picture in mind. Because if you don’t, all the choices you make are just another exit strategy, and days go by, and you’re nowhere near the finish line, and life still happens. So, to pick up the relationship metaphor again, all the choices you make every day have to be consistent with the big choice you’ve made once: exactly like the times you make the choice of putting an end to a fight, even though you believe you’re right, and the other person is wrong, just because you know that winning a fight is not as important as being with the person you love, you have to make the choice of going back to your writing even if it frustrates you and makes you miserable for some time, because you know it is worth it.

There is nothing easier than shifting our expectations to fit our lazy habits. Up until the point when our back is up against the wall, there is a million ways to justify a lazy behavior. When something big is at stake, lazy habits are not as powerful. If your project comes with its own gratification, great. When it doesn’t, you have to think again about what finishing the writing project means to you. 

What do you think? What are the things that motivate you to write ? What are your strategies when your routines get disrupted and you have a hard time going back to your old (and effective) one?

I’ll be happy to know what you think!

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