Ahoy and happy Monday!
Welcome to another week of Start Writing Online—where every week we dive into 1 of the 10 biggest problems all writers face:
- Generating ideas
- Impostor syndrome
- Writing consistently
- Finding time to write
- Loose feedback loops
(And, of course, if you want to crush all 10 of these AND master the fundamentals of Digital Writing in just 30 days, we'd love to have you in the next cohort of Ship 30 for 30!)
This week, we want to help you to reframe your mindset around building a daily writing habit.
At some point, all writers struggle to show up and write.
Even with the best intentions, you can easily get sidetracked by more urgent matters that drag you away from your writing:
- Family demands
- Work emergencies
- The endless stream of notifications
That’s why in Ship 30 we talk so much about setting your Sacred Hours for writing.
But there’s 1 surprising distraction that can undermine your writing routine: boredom.
When we look back on all our personal growth (whether that’s in writing, business, or fitness) over the last few years, the key ingredient has been a commitment to showing up and doing the boring fundamentals, day after day.
On 99% of days, we love the process. But on those 1% of days where writing (or eating healthy or going to the gym) is the last thing we want to do, we tell ourselves:
“You can quit tomorrow — but show up today.”
Being a consistent writer boils down to overcoming the handful of days where you want to throw in the towel and give up. By giving yourself full permission to quit tomorrow, instead of today, you defer the decision to the future. All you have to do today is show up, keep the commitment you made to yourself, and do the bare minimum.
There are 3 simple reasons why this mindset trick works:
Reason #1: Tiny is easy.
On the days when you don’t feel like putting in the rep, it’s important to make it as easy as possible.
BJ Fogg, the habit expert from Stanford University, says in Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything:
Keeping changes small and expectations low is how you design around fair-weather friends like motivation and willpower. When something is tiny, it's easy to do - which means you don't need to rely on the unreliable nature of motivation.
Showing up today, no matter how big, means you’re putting in another rep and maintaining your habit.
Reason #2: Shortcuts your emotions.
Our feelings drive our actions, and, lucky for us, the feeling of boredom is only temporary.
This mindset reframe shortcuts the feeling and takes the pressure off by deferring the decision until tomorrow. You’re essentially saying “I feel like giving up now, but let’s not decide today. Let’s look at it again tomorrow.” So instead of allowing the feeling of boredom to win, you put the rep in.
By the time tomorrow rolls around, it’s likely you’ll feel excited to write again.
Reason #3: Stacks another win (and builds momentum).
There’s something satisfying about watching your writing streak build over time.
There’s an idea, made famous by the comedian Jerry Seinfeld, that you shouldn’t “break the chain”. Stacking daily writing sessions keeps your momentum rolling and helps you realize you’ve got power behind you: you’ve defeated boredom on all your previous writing days, you can do it again today.
So no matter how small the rep is, keep stacking those writing wins.
And this is something we focus on in Ship 30. Publishing 1 Atomic Essay every day for 30 days keeps the goal small and helps you build a publishing chain. With an excited and engaged community of other writers shipping right beside you, it’s unlikely you’ll ever feel bored.
That's it for today!
Chat next week!
–Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole
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