Don’t know what to do next? Do the hardest thing first. Write.

This writer knows exactly what he should do next, but for reasons beyond his ken, he checks the "Don't Know" box.

Decisions, decisions, decisions….when will it all end?

Never, as far as I can tell. We are decision making machines who have to constantly choose between multiple competing priorities, as well as maintain our energy levels with food, sleep and RockStar Drink. We have to decide what to do all the time. Writing is one of the easiest activities to decide not to do.

Because writing requires a lot from us to do it well, it makes sense that we should try to write when we are brimming with energy. This means that if we are looking to schedule a set of goals for the day, we should write before we expend precious energy on clipping hedges, shopping, calling our college roommate, watching a rerun of Dancing with the Stars or making a lasagna from scratch

While this may make good sense to our rational frontal cortex, our emotional contrarian lobes are shouting out from the limbic peripheries that we should definitely postpone, and possibly not do at all, that most onerous task on the list. We ought to write, but we don’t want to. At this point, if we give ourselves even a few moments to entertain the many convincing reasons that exist for postponing writing, we will end up dropping it lower down on the to-do list, and it may fall off the list altogether by the end of the day.

How to solve the problem? When you are entertaining the choice of writing versus almost anything else, choose to write first. This issue will arise innumerable times in your writing life and the rule is easy to remember and effective. Seductive and whiney inner voices will complain and tempt you in a thousand different ways. Don’t get drawn into those arguments – they’re a trap. All you have to remember is to write first. Get it done and you’ll feel good for the rest of the day, whatever else you choose to do.

You know what to do. Write first.

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About David Arnot Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Don’t know what to do next? Do the hardest thing first. Write.

  1. fakewoman says:

    I made my lasagna before reading your post – honest-

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