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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

New Book Update: Easy Doesn’t Always Do It


easy-hardWhen I started revising my novel, The Essential Path, back on January 3, I started keeping a new journal just for the novel. It didn’t include as much detail as my Product Time Tracking Table, but the short, simple journal entries worked for me.

Around the Ides of March, I realized I hadn’t written in the novel journal for about a week. My habit of  writing in the journal only when I worked on the novel made it easy to not notice when I wasn’t showing up. For an entire week, I didn’t show up and I had only a fuzzy sense that “it’s been awhile.”

Restart

That realization sent me back to my Tracking Table on March 17 when I noted in the Comments column “Didn’t make time for novel – recognized my resistance.”

Admitting my resistance in writing pushed me to show up the next day. March 18, I worked on the novel for 50 minutes and commented, “Satisfied about my recommitment.”

I haven’t missed one weekday since. I make an entry every weekday to record what time I show up, how long I work and what I worked on. Making a daily entry forces the kind of conscious awareness I need.

Most days my comments were positive: “Felt good to get back into it” or “Engaged, pleased.” Two days I commented “Tired, guilty I didn’t get to it sooner” and “FRUSTRATED and tired.”

On April 1, I thought about skipping the novel because I had spent two and a half hours working on a blog post, it was late and I was tired. But when I thought about what to put in the Comments column for that day, I just couldn’t bring myself to write “I didn’t have time for the novel.” It wasn’t true. And my commitment to make a daily entry left no room for denial.

liar-liar-pants-on-fireWould I lie and write excuses in the Tracking Table or would I do what I promised myself I’d do?

I thought about I tell my students and coaching clients: I only had to do something with my novel for 15 Magic Minutes. Once again, the magic of the small commitment worked. I not only honored my 15 minute commitment, I got on a roll and logged 30 minutes.

It may be that those 30 minutes were the best 30 minutes I’ll ever invest in my novel, not because I did stellar work that night, but because I showed up when I wanted to “forget” my commitment.

Novels are not written on the days when it’s easy to show up; they’re written on the days we fight ourselves to show up.

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4 Comments on “New Book Update: Easy Doesn’t Always Do It”

  1. Joel D Canfield April 10, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    I am inordinately pleased that the last words of my most recent book were written while traveling. Without a home, because it was sold before we left for a month-long trip. And because I was in California, my allergies were killing me.

    Every reason in the book, but not one a valid excuse. So, I wrote.

    Like

    • rosannebane April 16, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      I don’t know that any amount of pleased with writing the last words of a book could be inordinate. Congratulations for the work and kudos for recognizing the reasons to write were stronger than the reasons not to write.

      Like

      • Joel D Canfield April 16, 2014 at 8:16 am #

        Ha! Point taken. Yes, the amount of pleasure was exactly right, not excessive.

        Like

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  1. New Book Update: Best Laid Plans Oft Go Astray (But Don’t Let That Block Your Writing) | The Bane of Your Resistance - May 29, 2014

    […] might remember from a previous New Book Update, that my plan for revising my novel was […]

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