If I ask you if you’ve committed yourself to your writing project, you could answer ‘yes’ and feel better for a while. But if you don’t make progress on it, that high would fade, and soon you’d feel even worse because you told yourself (and me) that you’ve committed to your project. The place that the word ‘commitment’ took up in your brain would morph into a gaping portal for your inner critic to leap through and attack you. And we all know how awful inner critics can be.
I don’t know about you, but I hate the word ‘commitment’ because it feels heavy, fixed, and binding. If I asked you, ‘Have you committed to writing your book?” I’d get it if you wanted to throw your notebook at me.
Let me ask you this instead:
Have you prioritized your writing?
Commitment alone is never enough. You can commit to a relationship, but if you don’t convert that commitment into action, then your relationship will eventually fail. Why? Because commitment means nothing without action to back it up. When you commit, you must commit yourself to act, not to the idea of action. When you commit to finishing a story, you must back up your commitment with action.
Ask yourself how you are going to enact your commitment in a reasonable way given your schedule. Give your writing priority in your daily life, and no, you DO NOT have to write EVERY SINGLE DAY. Writers need time off, too. You can be committed to getting something done, but if you don’t assign your project priority in your life, eventually your desire to continue working on it will fade.
Let me tell you a story.
I have a client who works hard on her book. She puts in the time. She outlines. She makes creative decisions, organizes, writes scenes, and makes progress. One day she got frustrated and wanted to quit writing altogether. I asked her about when she works on her story; she told me it’s nearly always late at night, usually starting around 11:00 p.m. Sometimes she stays up all night working on her project even though she works full time. She’s productive for sure, but she burned out because did not give her project priority. Working on her book was often the last thing she worked on during her day. And let’s face it, her plan wasn’t sustainable. She lost sleep, which leads to crankiness and frustration, stopped, she will stop working on her book because of sheer survival. She needs to sleep. Her diagnosis: She needs to give her book priority. She needs to figure out what she’s willing to give up to finish her book.
So here is a bit of tough love:
You have not decided to write your book until you prioritize your writing.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I care about finishing my book?
What am I willing to give up in order to finish my book?
What time of day can I be alert and productive on MY OWN projects?
Write these questions in your writer’s notebook and journal about them. You may discover something about yourself and your schedule that you can modify and resume making serious progress today.
If you need help or motivation, schedule a consultation with me.