To Move on You Need to Change Your Core Desire

Writing can be tough at times. You need to be constantly reiterating ideas that make no sense, do prolonged research that might lead you nowhere, spend a huge amount of time on sentences and words just to make sure it is in a readable form and all that could very well be in vain if you don’t compact the text enough to keep everything relevant while still holding the bits that matter and making sure the piece keeps its coherence with as little text as possible.

That’s why writers idolize routines. Many times you will hear that it doesn’t matter whether you have a good or a bad day, or if you’re writing makes any sense or not, as long as you keep the pattern going. The most difficult part of the equation is not to improve your writing but to actually build the routine that will allow you to work on it later on.

When you are dealing with things that are so difficult to engage with psychologically, you are gonna have to prioritize patterns over results, even if that includes compromising the quality as well.

Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer that is internationally famous, writes:

“Most people, only see the surface reality of writing and think of writers as involved in quiet, intellectual work done in their study. If you have the strength to lift a coffee cup, they figure, you can write a novel. But once you try your hand at it, you soon find that it isn’t as peaceful a job as it seems. The whole process — sitting at your desk, focusing your mind like a laser beam, imagining something out of a blank horizon, creating a story, selecting the right words, one by one, keeping the whole flow of the story on track — requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine.

You might not move your body around, but there’s grueling, dynamic labor going on inside you. A writer thinks with his entire being, and that process requires putting into play all your physical reserve, often to the point of overexertion.”

Writing, like many other creative processes, lacks technique. There is no real manual to tell how to do it and those that claim otherwise, lie. The process is always painful and new, no matter how many times you have done it in the past and every time you sit down to begin a piece, you need to dig through the whole set of experiences and filter them in a way that you can look at a subject with fresh eyes and you can create the prism through which you can bring your own views on the subject.

If it happens to have the experience of writing fiction or non-fiction, you have realized that things don’t get any easier after every piece you craft out, because each one of them is like a new world and you need to discover it from scratch out of the most remote alleys of your mind.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” — Hemingway

That’s why I would always measure my writing progress in terms of time. I would say I’m happy if I seat down for two straight hours on my desk and write and I wouldn’t care if it would produce a well-refined piece with good structure and form, ready to be published or it would fill the garbage collector on the side of my desk.

I would adopt a process-oriented mindset and measure the result in terms of how much time I spent and how hard I worked on it, always been happy with whatever came out of it, and never getting too hard on myself for going through something so difficult.

But then, a little while back, it so happened that I needed to finish one story before a particular day. I had the weekend in front of me and I knew fairly well that starting from Monday I would be very limited in spending any time in it at all, as other activities would consume most of my days and would lead me to lose the connection I had with the story.

Knowing my patterns and how difficult it is for me to get my mind back to something I realized that my only chance would be to finish it by Sunday which gave me approximately 2 days to fill out something around 10.000 words.

I took the challenge, brew enough coffee to keep me running, and plunged right into it pouring out a story that would normally take me a week or two to finish and the whole duration seemed to pass in a fast forward manner that resembled a blur. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, this situation forced me to take a little shift and abandoned my usual process of taking my time along the way and enjoying the process and I turned into a goal-oriented mindset where the only thing that mattered was to finish the story in due time.

No more leisure-time on research about how a place really looked like or how stuff work and no more excuses on missing out on deadlines I had to reach and I was surprised to find that this methodology worked much better for me than what I would have anticipated beforehand.

It wasn’t only the amount of time that I spent on writing but the actual progress was much faster and efficient and it seemed that I would spend much less energy on things that would consume me previously like searching for that particular word or trying to craft an obscure sentence the “right way” and I would just jump from one point to the next.

Instead of being indifferent about the progress and secretly relishing to stall around in things that don’t matter and trying to hide the fact under the carpet, preaching about the value of process and hard work on their own I switched into a goal-oriented approach that I was deeply invested in bringing to an end. I didn’t see the word-debates as interesting enough to spend any time on and I would only focus on more important things like the plot and how the story and characters were evolving. Coming from a person that was always on the opposite spectrum of results and measuring points I was dumbfounded.

It was at that point that I realized that your core desire matters in what you do. Do you want to actually create a beautiful website that people will admire to look at or do you just spend your time unengaged pulling out design quotes and rules to make you feel better about your job? Are you 100% in delivering something of value to the world, crafting a meaningful blog-post, helping the people in your life, or finding an idea that matters or are you just procrastinating with famous quotes and commonplace platitudes that have no real value to offer?

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was enforcing the same pattern in pretty much everything I was doing avoiding the burden of responsibility on the processes I was embarking on. At some point, you need to face the fact that unless your actions are fully aligned with your goals and mind you are not doing your best and most probably you need to figure out what is the reason that they are not.

Change your core desire and you will find that you are actually possessing much greater abilities than what you believed of yourself and you can achieve things you would never anticipate before.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store