I hover happily where I am in my writing world. I write so many hours a week, maintain a blog, attend writing conferences (sometimes), journal, network with other writers, and spend way too long on a simple thank you note (you know, it has to be all the right words). I’m happy where I am.
The problem is I’m flat lining. Yep. I’m experiencing this cushy comfortable lifestyle of writer riding where I do nothing but drive the same highway of writing. And that’s why the perk of writing is falling flat.
I’ve got a disease. I suffer from fear of the next step syndrome.
Instead my wishful writing dreams lounge out on a couch somewhere. And, really looking at it all, where I am is not a bad place to be. It’s just that where I am is not taking me anywhere. Scratch that. I still get somewhere I just end up ignoring places I could go. I’m in my comfort zone with writing. And let’s face it, it’s hard to progress when you don’t push yourself to explore new territories.
Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But, I know that the next step will be good for me I just don’t make time for it. The next step requires research, planning, failing, and reworking the already comfortable schedule.
But, what I really want from my writing begs for my attention. My wishful writing parks its long legs on the back couch and reminds me of its presence and stares me down.
Hey girl. You ignoring me!
So I go back to my comfortable writing world and my wishful writing couch potato continues to invade my living room. I can’t ignore it. It munches on crunchy chips while I write. It sits in the presence of company, it tucks me into bed at night, plays boogie man, and it greets me every morning. And it especially makes its presence known when I witness other people mastering “their thing.” The reminder of my next step quietly makes its presence known.
So, um… you just gonna sit there?
It’s time to give it some attention so it will go away.
I know I’m not the only one that has these nagging feelings. I love the line in the movie, Babe. The narrator says, “Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to away should never be ignored, for in them lie the seeds of destiny.”
Hm. Destiny, eh?
4 Tips To Get That Wishful Writing Couch Potato Working Out:
My wishful writing couch potato is getting fat. I need to put it to work because the longer I wait the harder it is to get momentum. I have always discovered that something grand is on the outside of a little extra effort.
The next step is like getting back into exercise after a long haul of couch potato writing. Here’s a few of my favorite exercising tips that apply to writing as well. It’s time to get your wishful writing couch potato off the couch and start feeding him your little seeds of destiny. Here’s how to get started without baking the potato in the first week. Don’t get ambitious and burned on your first week. A perfect baked potato takes time.
It’s easy to get overambitious on the first attempt of the next step. If you plan to get too much done you will be disappointed that things aren’t moving quicker for you. You have to ease into it and do simple steps. Be very specific. Maybe today I will research how to write a proposal or how to design a web page. Give yourself small, achievable deadlines. By Friday I will begin my proposal, completing at least the hook or the marketing plan. Whatever your next step is, go slow but the point is to go.
Go Hard Enough You Can Carry On a Conversation
So yes, it is possible to take it too slow. That won’t give your dreams their proper attention. In the exercise world you need to be working out hard enough that you can still carry on a conversation while you exercise. Stressing a little is good, it shows growth. So you need to push yourself hard enough that you are sweating it out (or stressing) a little but that you are also able to attend to your other needs. I’m a big believer people connections. So for me this is a necessary element to being successful in writing. That’s just my personal opinion. Take if for whatever you want. New, big, steps can take a lot of time but I think that proper balance keeps you happy in your writing. Make it a goal to squeeze in meaningful conversation even amid working out your couch potato dreams. Of course I write then talk (I rarely mix the two). I simply do this by setting a timer and tell my midget genetic counterparts that I will be with them when the timer goes off. I work hard now, and then later I am still able to carry on a conversation. I have to have this goal because it is very easy for me to work hard and neglect meaningful conversations. Writing makes me happy but so do my little people.
Log Your Writing Time
Seems pointless right? But, if you are having a difficult time seeing your progress then monitor it. People use tools all the time to measure their success. Fitbits or ancient yesterday pedometers measure how active you are. Or you can simply take a slice of the clock instead (that’s my method). Log your success and feel an instant reward for not creating a to-do list, but for creating a log of successful writing moments. You’re creating a backward to-do list. It feels much more satisfying tracking what was done rather than gawking at what wasn’t done.
Track three main areas of writing:
1-Writing time. Count words, pages, time, whatever you want to track.
2-Planning and Research Time. Studying things out sometimes feels like you aren’t getting writing done but it is an important element in being successful. Simply track what you spent your time on and how long. You will feel better knowing you were moving when it appears you weren’t.
3-Business and Marketing Time. This has always been my biggest beef with writing. I just want to write so it feels like this takes away from what I could be doing. But, this is a very important element that keeps your writing up. Take a regular time to connect and keep the business side of writing in balance. Track your connections. Use these methods of logging and see yourself inch along as a writer but be miles ahead of the wishful writing couch potato friends.
This is the biggest measure of success as a writer and new ambitious exercisers. Over and over you will find that those who have stuck with an exercise regimen are those who enjoy what they are doing. The same is true of writers. If you find satisfaction with writing then you will most likely stick with it. Satisfaction doesn’t always equate to being the star player. Most of my delight in exercise and writing comes from learning and applying new techniques or breaking new norms. Simply find one thing you love in your new push to get that wishful writing couch potato up. Yes, there will be hard days, but if you consistently look for one perk in your efforts you will continue to find joy in writing.
Do you suffer from the next step syndrome? What nags and begs for your attention? It’s time to get that wishful writing couch potato up and moving. Today’s your day to start feeding your “destiny.” Take that next step. What are you going to do?
Christie Perkins is a survivor of boy humor, chemo, and faulty recipes. She loves freelance writing, blogging, and is a nonfiction junkie. Her stage 4 cancer doesn’t knock down her passion for life and writing. Not a chance. A couple of magazines have published her work but her biggest paycheck is her incredible family. Christie hates spiders, the dark, and Shepherd’s Pie. Bleh. Mood boosters: white daisies, playing basketball, and peanut butter M&M’s. You can find out more about her on her blog at howperkyworks.com.