Patience: Thy Name is Not Mine

Photo by Jess Vide on

In most parts of my life I’m pretty patient. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of others; I’m fairly realistic when it comes what the world owes me (nothing). My expectations of myself, however, tip in the other direction.

I’m a slower writer and this, I’ve diagnosed, is because I’m a perfectionist on choosing the right word. All the right words. This makes it a fairly cumbersome task to complete a book.

I’ve attended workshops in many, many occasions where authors have said not to focus on the words in the first draft. Just put words on the paper and worry about finding the right words during th editing phase. My brain doesn’t tend to want to cooperate with that logic, however.

After struggling to find words – any words, right, wrong, imperfect – my brain starts to shut down. The analytical part takes over and the creative side starts negotiating. Let’s write 1000 words. Then it’s 500 words. Then 100.

I’m trying new tactics to overcome the analysis paralysis. I set a timer to write for 10 minutes then up the time every couple of days but it’s easy to break the cycle.

There’s a new fad going around called Focus Mate. I have give props to Courtney Milan for turning me on to it. You partner with another user and basically hold each other accountable by being on camera. You don’t interact outside of the initial “howdy” with a brief explanation of what you want to accomplish, then the final “see ya later” and did you meet your goal. But just having another presence is the most remarkable tool I’ve found for keeping me in front of the computer.

Guilt is a great motivator (without actual guilt).

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