How Planning Kills Motivation


It is often said that everyone wants to be a writer, but no one wants to write. Although this may be true for some, I believe many people want to write, they just have no idea how to get themselves to do it. As a writer and editor, the question I get most often is, “Where do I start?” Although I think the answer varies slightly for everyone, the thing I consistently tell authors and writers is to stop thinking and just start writing.

Something I’ve found to be universally true is that people are often their own worst enemy when it comes to completing tasks, and this is particularly true for starting to write. Thinking about writing a book is like thinking about climbing a mountain. What shoes do you wear? What tools do you need? Where do you put your feet? If you fall backward, will you die and subsequently be eaten by super scary mountain creatures? Inevitably, you don’t climb a mountain. Instead you Google “mountain climbing” which leads you to “climbing gear” which leads you to “mountain deaths” which leads you to “animals that eat people on mountains” which leads you to “cute animals on mountains” which leads you to “kittens doing cute things” and you eventually forget that you ever wanted to climb a mountain and that mountains even exist.

The point is, as humans, we can be overly-analytical about the things we want to do, and in planning, we sometimes over-complicate things to the point where we can’t make ourselves do them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good list, but sometimes a list makes things feel a little more stuffy and confining than they really are. When we plan too heavily and outline too much, we create a framework that can feel binding. It’s like putting something into a box before we even know how big it is. What if you’re trying to stuff an elephant into a shoebox and don’t even realize it? That would be terrible and you would be arrested for animal cruelty and ain’t nobody got time for that.

In reality, the only thing you need to do in order to write a book is to make yourself write. Don’t think about it, don’t plan anything, just sit yourself down, get yourself a hot beverage in a rustic mug, and do it. Don’t give yourself too much time to think or worry, just write. You may think you need to write a 175-page book about faith and family and realize you actually want to write a 500-page murder mystery, but you’ll never know if you plan yourself into a corner.

So take this as free reign to go forth and create. Get out of your own way, put pen to paper, and PLEASE, do not Google “kittens doing cute things.”

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