Writing Thoughts: Write Every Day is bad advice, says professor Cal Newport



[T]he human brain is driven, in large part, by its need to assess plans: providing motivation to act on good plans, and reducing motivation (which we experience as procrastination) to act on flawed plans.

The problem for the would-be writer is that the brain does not necessarily distinguish between your vague and abstract goal, to write a novel, and the accompanying specific plan, to write every day, which you’re using to accomplish this goal.

When the specific plan fails, the resulting lack of motivation infects the general goal as well, and your writing project flounders.

— Cal Newport, author and professor

Since I’ve been slipping a bit on my daily blogging (though I have caught up), and on top of my lack of forward progress on either of my current fiction works, I’ve been getting somewhat discouraged lately.  So I was interested in what author and professor Cal Newport had to say about the oft-quoted advice in his blog post titled “Write Every Day” is Bad Advice: Hacking the Psychology of Big Projects.

I know writing every day works for some people, and it’s even worked for me at times in the past, but I found some good points in Cal’s post and I highly recommend you give it a read.

Cal’s conclusion, that my writing overall (and my novel in particular) has suffered because I tried to stick to a too-ridgid plan, is sound, but I’m pretty sure I’ve also just been overly distracted lately, obsessing about my games, watching TV, and everything else.   So I see it as definitely a combination of motivation loss and slacking off.

I especially like his idea of taking a look at the week ahead and being realistic about scheduling writing time — which for me, lets me also schedule in some distraction time (to play Pokemon Go, attend get-togethers with friends, and so on).  According to my own posting schedule, I’m supposed to be doing this on Mondays anyway, so I guess that’s my new plan!  I’m going to be getting my daily posts done during the day or afternoon, not wait until night time when things get lost, but I’m also going to block in some actual fiction time next week and see what happens.

No specific dragon seemed particularly right for my theme today, so I’m going to share a piece by a favorite artist of mine, whom you’ve seen before.  This is called Spire by Katy Lipscomb, posting as Lucky978.  Be sure to check out her gallery for even more amazing art!  Take care and stay creative!


Image credits:
Cal Newport quote from his Study Hacks Blog, created on Quozio
85-Spire by Katy Lipscomb

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