If you know that you procrastinate, so that your writing doesn’t get done, here’s how to develop a writing habit. It works to build any habit, and all you need is 11 minutes — daily.
You know you should be writing, but…
You’re watching a DVD, or Netflix, or you’ve just spent an hour on Facebook when you should be writing. You tell yourself that you’re tired, and you’ll write tomorrow.
Except you don’t, sadly. Procrastination has you in its deadly grip.
It’s time to free yourself.
If you can spare 11 minutes a day, you can do it.
Commit to 11 minutes, and magic happens
Years ago I read somewhere that it takes 11 minutes to change a mind-state. That stuck with me. One day, before heading out for my walk, I focused on my mental chatter: I hate exercise, I have so much I should be doing, I don’t have time… kvetch, kevetch… OK: mind-state — resistant and resentful.
I looked at my watch.
11 minutes? Let’s see. Would my mind-state change?
I kept walking, and took my emotional temperature every few minutes.
At 11 minutes precisely, I started to enjoy the walk. It was fun.
Coincidence, I decided. So I kept watching for ways I could test the “11 minutes” theory again. I tried it on a writing project I’d been avoiding. On household chores. On calling people I didn’t want to call.
It worked. Each and every time, I knew that I only had to survive 11 minutes, and if I could do that, my mind-state would change. It would become a healthy, positive, and often creative, mind-state. That was well worth 11 minutes.
Why the 11 minute trick works to build a writing habit
When my writing students procrastinate, and can’t get motivated, I suggest the 11 minute trick to them. If they can open a computer file, and stick with their writing for 11 minutes, their mind-state will change.
Why does this simple trick work to build a writing habit?
Once you’ve seen the trick in action, you realize that your emotions change: they change constantly. Emotional resistance to writing no longer bluffs you. You may not be “in the mood” to write when you start writing, but you know that you will be — in 11 minutes.
Try the trick
Not in the mood to write? Look at your watch.
Your emotions will change. You’ll become intrigued by, and engrossed in your writing… in 11 minutes.
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