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Writer Motivation – Take One
Brian M. Hayden
Have you ever said, “I’ll try to get that done by the end of the day, or week…?” Pick a time frame. Are you the kind of person that tries hard, but at the end of the day, none of your projects are completed? Well, if you are always trying to do things and constantly falling short of actually accomplishing anything, take comfort in these next few words.
STOP TRYING AND START DOING!
For years I hear people say, “I’m trying”, or “I’ll try my best”. Don’t you believe it. I’ve run companies for many years. Most with more than 100 employees. Assigning tasks was part of it. When I assign a job, and the person tells me, “alright Mr. Hayden. I’ll try”. My ass begins to twitch. I know for certain that when the word “try” is used, I am getting set-up for a disappointing outcome.
Let me explain. I’d like to walk you through this simple exercise. Ready? Good. Now, find an object near you. Any object. A pen, or perhaps a cup. Anything. Now comes the hard part.
Try to pick it up.
Did you do it? I will assume that you answered “yes”. You just failed that simple test. I asked you to “try” to pick it up. I did not ask you to pick up the object. Are you following me here?
I have thought about this since 1992, and I still don’t know what “try” means.
According to the “Free Online Dictionary” – v. tried (tr d), try·ing, tries (tr z). v.tr. 1. To make an effort to do or accomplish (something); attempt: tried to ski. 2. To taste, sample, or otherwise test in order to …
I believe that the word “try” is the root cause of almost all problems. Don’t believe me? Read that definition again. It affords us the opportunity to make an effort with no expectation for success.. We, (our society) is soft. Our willingness to accept a “good try” lets people off the hook for jobs left unaccomplished.
Do not fret though, for I have devised a solution to this dilemma. Here are the steps.
- Stop using the word “try”
- If you say you are going to do something -DO IT!
- Commit to the philosophy: Do your best to complete the task at hand.
I can deal with someone who says, “I’ll do my best to complete this job”. If that person falls short, I’ll figure out why and help him/her to do better.
But many of you reading this blog are writers, authors, editors and other professionals. Your inner dialog is saying: How can this new philosophy apply to my life? Allow me to respond with a question. How often have you read someone’s facebook note that reads, “I am trying to write 5000 words today”? Facebook has many sites, most of which have people saying they are going to try to do this…or that.
Stop doing that.
Do you have writer’s block? Are you working on character development, but “try” as you may, cannot reconcile the characters? In our profession we come across myriad situations which challenge our abilities. Here is a secret. Come closer.
Don’t try so hard.
Say this out loud. “I am not going to try anymore. If I am going to do something, I am going to do it.”
One final thought: If you find yourself with writer’s block, character block, or any other impedance to a successful outcome, pick up a book and read. Reading relaxes you, frees your mind and ignites those creative juices. If that doesn’t work, give yourself a kick in the derriere, and try to do better tomorrow.
Need something to read? Pick up one of my books.