“It was a bad writing day yesterday. Today isn’t going to be any better.”
“You didn’t write yesterday. Don’t bother writing today.”
If I were a betting person, I’d wager you’ve thought those above statements plenty of times before. They are two of the favourite things our Inner Saboteur likes to say to us.
The Saboteur doesn’t just stop there. The Saboteur elaborates, tells us how we’re terrible writers because of those bad days; that we should quit; that we aren’t real writers. The exact words may vary, but the message is the same.
Picking ourselves up after these smack-downs is not easy. What is easy, is giving in to the not writing, the belief that you aren’t good enough, that you shouldn’t bother Giving in isn’t going to get us to completing our goals.
There is only one way we can pick ourselves up and move forward, and that’s to write.
I am very aware of how difficult that is. It does’t have to be. Here are a few ways to make it easier:
- Every day is a new day. Scarlett O’Hara’s known for saying “Tomorrow is another day.” If it helps, tell that to yourself when you go to bed after a bad or non-writing day. When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself, “Today is another day.” What happened yesterday no longer matters.
- Set it aside. Not the writing, but whatever happened the day before to stop you from writing. I mention this a fair bit, but it’s worth repeating. Pull out a journal or open up a file on your computer. Write down you doubts, your worries, what your Inner Saboteur is telling you. Set the journal aside, shut the file. If you need more drastic measures, delete the file or rip out the page and tear it up.
- Revisit your goals. Remind yourself of what you want, why you want it, and what you will do to get it. Remind yourself that watching TV or surfing the internet isn’t going to get you there, writing will.
- Revisit your daily goals. Are they realistic? Do they fit into your daily schedule? Our lives change over time. Add words, remove words, shift your writing time. Make adjustments as necessary.
- Reward yourself. Last week we talked about how anticipating a reward helps make an action a habit. Reinforce that anticipation. Give yourself that reward at the end of the day’s writing session. Give yourself that reward after each writing session for the first twenty-one days.
- Believe in yourself. Believe that you can do this. You can write.
What will you do today, to pick yourself up, and write?