Few things in life give me more pleasure than a gorgeously written blog post validating my choice to write, particularly if I’m fresh from a difficult critique or my characters have gone silent. That’s when I scan my environment, looking for people brimming with positivity. If you’re one of them, I glom onto you. I yearn to be swept up in your narrative.
And if you’re drinking hope’s sweet ambrosia and if you’ll allow me to sip from your cup, maybe take it back to the keyboard with me, I’ll love you beyond all reason.
I’ll bookmark your post. I’ll copy it into my Scrivener file marked “inspiration”. I’ll remember you with gratitude long past the point when your words have lost the power to propel me forward. Because I’m fickle like that, dear Unboxeders. Borrowed hope only works for so long before I need another hit, another dealer, a different jewel-encrusted goblet to place at my right elbow.
Lately, because of this self-knowledge, I’ve lost interest in dealing with my internal drama and grown more focused on what garners results. I’ve looked for ways to make my writing both habitual and independent of motivation levels. Much like I change my environment and routine when I’m serious about taking care of my health, I’m trying to respect my process and design an environment which makes writing the default position rather than something I must fight my way into.
Accordingly, I’ve been focused more on science-based behavioral change, looking to the resources I’d have valued in medicine to support patients who want to alter their lifestyle in systematic, incremental, and non-threatening ways.
Because I’ve found them helpful, and because they have virtually no end of application, I thought I’d share them here. (This is not to say I won’t continue to enjoy and possibly write posts about motivation. It’s not an either-or proposition!)
The first several draw upon the work of BJ Fogg, a Stanford professor whose research is about habit formation. In 2012, Fortune Magazine named him one of Ten New Gurus You Should Know, but I simply admire his work for its concreteness.
1. In this first video, you will learn:
- How to create a minuscule behavioral change following a reliable trigger. (e.g. Perhaps you want your routine to mean that you open your work-in-progress as you sip your first morning coffee, or that you activate your internet blocker as soon as you sit down to write.)
- The special-but-small practices which, when performed, make it much more likely your habit will stick.