Ignore Willpower. Create Habits.

drip, drip, drip“People who are good at self-control … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place.”—psychologist Brian Galla, quoted by Brian Resnick in the article Why willpower is overrated.

From the same article:
“Structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity, like running or meditating, at the same time each day have an easier time accomplishing their goals, he says — not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier.”

Willpower gets used up and simply cannot be used until it is replenished.

Habits, once established, require no willpower.

I’m planning more articles on developing the writing habit. In the meantime here are some I’ve already written:

This is an area where knowing your specific struggles will help be research the best advice to share.

Where do you struggle to create the habit of writing?

Willpower Won’t Power Emotional Writing

pick that shovelEmotional writing connects with readers. But you’re not going to produce it simply by trying harder or longer. You can’t will yourself to an emotional outpouring. I’d like to chat more about ways to increase the amperage in our writing, but I’d like to be sure you understand that “trying harder” isn’t one of them.

Here’s your homework: read any or all of these fine articles on the limitations of willpower, and understand that this is how your brain is wired, not some failure on your part. While these articles are, in general, talking about persistence, problem-solving, and self-control, the principles affect your efforts to produce emotionally evocative prose.

… more … “Willpower Won’t Power Emotional Writing”

Your Writing Schedule (#2 of 6 Tools to Write)

#2 in a series of 6

Every February thousands of songwriters converge on February Writing Album Month. FAWM founder Burr Settles lives by the Jack London quote which has always been part of FAWM culture: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

To many artists it seems nonsensical to sit down and intentionally crank out 14 songs in 28 days.

That’s not creativity; that’s just work. they say.

Seven years of participation taught me otherwise.

photo of office http://www.sxc.hu/photo/947942 by stephan fleet http://stephanfleet.com/

… more … “Your Writing Schedule (#2 of 6 Tools to Write)”

Planning My Days Around Willpower

Dan Pink shared 4 lessons from Manage Your Day-to-Day in his newsletter. Number 1 has been on my radar since a recent chat with Mark McGuinness (who wrote one section of the book.)

“The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and e-mail off.”

I posted the graphic a couple days ago. Here’s the detail:
… more … “Planning My Days Around Willpower”