Recently, a friend of mine asked me to write a series of short articles for his new website. He promised to pay me, and I agreed to his proposal. In general, I was required to write 12 articles before the end of September. It wasn’t too much, considering each of them had to be no longer than 500-600 words.
However, when I started working on this task, I noticed it took me more effort than I expected. Sometimes I would just force myself to go on and write those puny 500 words. Usually, it wouldn’t take me more than an hour or two (if additional research was required); but this time, I would spend hours pulling words out of myself.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized things like this happened to me often. When I had specific conditions and deadlines to observe, I would distract myself from writing by all means. Not always, but commonly. I’d remember about a bunch of really important stuff to do; or I’d feel like I needed a vacation; or writing would take me really long to accomplish–as it happened this time.
Moreover, it happened to me even if I worked for myself! For example, when I was working on my previous book, I started (at some point) to aim for a result: having the book finished by a some specific date. No publishers were urging me–it was just me who set a task for myself to finish faster. As a result, I started to treat the process of writing, which is what I actually enjoy, as a pesky gap between my current progress and the goal I pursued. Of course, having to face this unwanted (what a weird twist from enjoyable to annoying!) process almost every day made me procrastinate. The more I forced myself to write, the less I wanted to work on the novel.
I think the same happened to the order I was talking about in the beginning. I had three motivating factors: helping my friend, earning some extra money, and writing on interesting topics. But thinking of myself as of a person obliged to write made writing really difficult for me, regardless of these factors.
What I want to say by all this is attitude really matters. Try to force yourself into writing, and you will have to fight your way through writer’s block and procrastination. Instead, try to feel like you want to write something, even if it’s mandatory, and see what happens. I guess this is how copywriters and technical writers trick themselves; otherwise, they would hate their jobs, I guess.
Maybe I’m wrong, and you are not like me. Maybe, you always feel like writing, no matter what. In this case, you are lucky. And I will go and tweak my attitude.
Well, there is always something new to learn.
Good luck, and stay updated!
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