"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." ~Frank Tibolt
“If Not Now, When?”~ Hillel, 1st century Jewish sage
A member of my RWA Online Forum posted a message awhile back where she puzzled over the resistance experienced every time she sat down to write. I can pull up page after page in my own journal where I shook my own mental fist at the universe and asked the same thing.
A friend phoned several months ago, puzzling over her own resistance, this in relation to working out at the gym. She thrives on exercising, so why does she procrastinate and avoid an activity she loves? She hoped I would provide some magic answer and all I could tell her was this. Don’t think about it. Just do it.
It sounds too simple. Too flippant. Yet, another friend summed it up with an illuminating insight: “What made me slip into considering the activity rather than doing it?”
“A warrior lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting.” –Carlos Castaneda
What I realized as I began this essay is this. For all the tasks we face, whether they be pleasurable or onerous, there’s always one distinction. Do we have a choice? When we don’t, we can’t allow ourselves the luxury to think about it. We know we have to just do it. Now, this doesn’t stop the cycle of resistance! If it were that easy, there would be no missed deadlines. No scrambling to catch up on tasks long ignored.
It does, however, provide a clue about the process of procrastination. Since we can choose, we often stop and ponder our choices. People who perform heroic acts would probably all agree, had they stopped to think about it, they probably wouldn’t have had the courage, or the strength, or the extra push needed to succeed.
Just Do It.
“You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.” –Henry Ford
Years ago, a good friend of mine told me why he loved to ski. “When you’re up on that snowy mountain, you can’t stop and think about everything. You just do it.”
There it is again.
The post I referenced at the beginning of this essay prompted much thought on my part. A contemplation about both resistance and the choice to resist. In all areas of my life. Even in the mental phrasing of what I’m doing.
Do I say to myself, “Today I HAVE to write. Today I HAVE to edit this many pages.”
Or do I just say, “Today I write. Today I edit this many pages.”
Hmm… Food for thought.
“It is always your next move.” --Napoleon Hill
Just Do It.
How can it still be winter? Despite the calendar, we're still seeing rain, chilly nights and even an occasional smattering of snowflakes drifting down. Yet I know that spring is peeking through the clouds. Buds are beginning to burst into radiant color. The Chinese Maple tree on my back deck is revealing delicate leaves and here we are, once again, at the crux of change. It is up to us to choose which direction to take each day. Should we consider whether or not to write or should we simply write? What is our choice?
Whatever we want to accomplish, we can. Whatever we choose to accomplish, we will. Whatever we want to be, we are.
Hmm... Well then, We Are Writers. And what do writers do? We Write!
So… Let's Just Do It! *wink*
Here's to embracing our gift of choice. What choices will you be making this week?
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas