Recently, I did an informal poll on Facebook. I asked people to name their bad writing habits.
Here are the results, in order of popularity.
Trolling on Facebook. (Ironic, I know, considering the way I rolled out the poll.)
Putting Writing Last on Your “To Do” List. (Behind laundry, walking the dog, things that pop up, etc.)
Beating your self up. (Fearing that your pages suck, and that you will be humiliated when people read them.)
Research. (Losing yourself in “research” so you don’t actually have to write.)
Rushing. (Forcing things to a finish, when maybe they need some time to percolate.)
Not starting with an outline.
Putting in too many details. (Get the story going faster!)
While the last couple of habits can be easily remedied through revisions and spellcheck programs, most of the others (including rushing and not starting with an outline) fall into the realm of…
Here’s what Steven Pressfield says about resistance.
“Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.”
“We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.”
So, is there a way to think of yourself as a pro, instead of an amateur? Create a mindset where you are professional and HAVE to show up on time and do your work, without getting “amateurishly” distracted?
Here’s another tip to use to break your bad habits. Recently, business leader Marie Forleo posted about how self talk can determine whether we give in to our resistance. She talked about a study by Dr. Vanessa Patrick at the University of Houston that found if you begin to say to yourself, “I DON’T” troll on Facebook during my writing time, rather than “I CAN’T” troll on Facebook during my writing time, you will be 8 times as effective in breaking this habit.
You don’t procrastinate. You don’t put writing last on your ‘to do’ list. You don’t lose yourself in research.
TAKE ACTION! Could you see yourself as a pro, who shows up every day to do the work? Could you use your own powers of self talk to break your bad habits by prefacing them with the words, “I DON’T”?
I’ll leave you with one final Pressfield quote:
“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
Be a pro. Start saying you don’t have bad habits.
See what happens!
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