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Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Putting Down the Giant — Part II

Wow!

I have really been putting down that giant of procrastination! My manuscript has been mailed. Hooray! I just finished an article (although it was overdue). And I’ve outlined the sequel to the manuscript that’s been mailed. That’s pretty good for a person who has been procrastinating her life away.

And that all came from simply identifying the giant.

I had no idea procrastination was such a big nuisance in my life until I read Steve Hopkins’ words.

Today, I have more of Steve’s words for you. It’s short, but impacting.

*****

How will I ever beat the giant of Resistance (the Flesh) and break his stalemate—how will we?

I think we can learn some things from David and his battle with his giant.

First:

We must realize first that Goliath is not going to go away—he must be fought and defeated if we are ever going to be successful in our craft.

The greatest Resistance (the Flesh) is procrastination. The reason is that procrastination is the easiest to rationalize. Procrastination never says, “I’m never going to write my book,” it says, “I’ll write it…but I’ll write it tomorrow.”

And the problem of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we’ll put them off till the day we die!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one of the great artists and thinkers of his time. People loved his work and learned from it and wanted more. Over and over, he told them he had many other great works in his head, but nearly 300 years later, only one piece has really been preserved—The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

What stopped him?

It wasn’t opium. He was addicted to procrastination. He never got around to putting them on paper. Procrastination must be fought every day and won. But what about inspiration?

Someone asked Sommerset Maugham if he writes by a schedule or only whenever inspiration strikes.

He said, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, inspiration strikes every morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp.”

*****

Okay, already. Maybe you aren’t a person who can write at the same time every day, but certainly you could write at some time every day?

Here’s an idea:

What if you decide to write first thing every day?

Okay, so you mess up and it’s noon and you realize you didn’t write yet. Go ahead. Write at noon. Or perhaps it’s bedtime and you see that you never did get around to it. So, pull out the journal and write a sentence, or two, or three. That’s a start.

On the second day, go through the same process. Keep it up until you actually find yourself writing every day.

Okay, perhaps you can give yourself weekends or Sundays off, but you get the drift.

After that, you can work on writing something of substance. Perhaps give yourself a word limit, or a time limit, or?

Chip MacGregor, editor with Faith Warner, once told me that he determines to write a chapter or article or story every day. That’s his goal. If he finishes at noon, he gets the rest of the day off to play with his family. If he isn't done by six p.m., then he keeps working and doesn’t go to bed until his goal is met.

Gloria Chisholm (another editor/author friend of mine) used to be a single mom with small children and a full time job outside the home. Her goal was to write one double-spaced page every day. By the end of a year, she had finished an entire book!

Setting goals is important.

Keeping them is important.

Otherwise, that giant of Procrastination (the Flesh) will hold us down and keep us from ever realizing our dreams and will also keep others from being able to enjoy the gifts we’ve been given.

This week has been better for me. Now, let’s head into the next with more gusto than the last!

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