Inactivity in Writing - Ways Writers Work Too Hard Series Part 2

Inactivity In Writing – Ways Writers Work Too Hard Series Part 2

Inactivity In Writing - Ways Writers Work Too Hard Series Part 2
Photo by Dave Edmonds

Inactivity In Writing – Ways Writers Work Too Hard Series Part 2

One of the ways writers work too hard is making a to-do list but never completing any of the tasks, and when all of those unfinished tasks are hanging over our head, it's easy for this to lead to inactivity in writing.

Have you ever thought about the things you need to do? Of course you have, right? Perhaps you wrote them down in your journal or on your to-do list.

That all sounds normal. Who doesn't do that? We all need to figure out the things we need to do.

But what if, after figuring out those things, you don't actually do them?

Over and over, you say, “I need to _____ [fill in the blank],” but you never take any action toward accomplishing that thing. It keeps popping up in your head, reminding you that "oh, that's right. I still need to do that."

Does this ever happen to you?

It has happened to me. I took some time off from my writing business this spring. I dropped blogging and tweeting altogether. After a couple months of enjoying some stress-free time, I kept saying, “I really need to get back to focusing on my business." It look me another month and a half to get back into motion again.

At the end of each week, after not accomplishing anything, I felt frustrated. The frustration was leading to inactivity in writing and I wasn't getting anywhere and the thoughts were creating this huge burden.

Part of the reason it took so long was that I really enjoyed having a semi-normal life even though I was missing an important part of my life. I could spend the evenings reading a book or watching a movie and I didn’t have to think about actually accomplishing anything. But I kept saying I needed to get back into the swing of things.

So, one day I just did.

Instead of sleeping in on weekends, I started getting up early. Instead of sitting on the couch with a book or my notebook after work, I started doing some work in my office. I’m much more productive in my office than anywhere else even though it’s not as comfortable. I had revived my goals and my ambition; it was time to get back to work.

I started taking action and making use of my time by doing rather than just thinking. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with my massive “I need to do” list that my thinking about had caused, I started doing what I needed to do.

The thing is, when we allow ourselves to think and not do, we’re wasting our precious time. Instead of doing something useful, we’re thinking about that thing we’ve needed to do for the past three weeks.

By constantly saying, “I need to do this and oh, I need to do that, too,” and not actually checking any of these things off your list, you’re creating a mountainous to-do list for yourself. That huge to-do list overwhelms you so much that you find it hard to take any action at all. Add to that a lack of self-discipline and you're guaranteed not to do it. All of these things can lead to inactivity in writing.

So, today, I want you to take action. Start a new list. This time, don’t write down more than two or three things. Start with one thing and take action to complete it so you can check it off your list. Maybe you need to start up your journal again or you need to get an article submitted to a magazine publisher. Make a commitment to yourself to do whatever it is that you need to do.

I'm back in the game. Is it time you got back in the game, too?

Did you miss Part 1 – Editing Mistake

Up next: Part 3 – Procrastination


Jody Calkins
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