As I write this, I’m munching on an apple and struggling to think of something original (and witty) to say.
In the back of my mind, I’m chalking my struggles up to the fact that I haven’t had enough caffeine or enough chocolate. The alarm bells are ringing. The ‘perfect environment’ for my writing zone – the one my brain is convinced I need in order to concentrate and get work done – is incomplete.
And that, right there, is a bad habit.
You can read hundreds of blog posts on how writer’s block is a myth, how to hit a word count each day (even if what you’re writing is terrible), but until you manage to trick yourself into believing you’ve met all of your prerequisite conditions for writing, your production levels will be nonexistent.
I discovered my “perfect environment” some time during my first stint in college. This involved copious amounts of alcohol, no sleep, fast approaching deadlines and more Chinese food than I care to think about. The problem is, the second I graduated and moved back home, all of those little ‘things’ I had taught myself to think I needed started to fall away and I was faced, for the first time, with too much time to write and not enough drive to get the words down.
It still shocks me how easy it is to waste 9 hours doing absolutely nothing. Suddenly, procrastination doesn’t seem like a big enough word to describe the lengths you manage to go to in order to not write. (I’ve settled on two words – avoidstinate and procrastihate. Because I’m not just putting it off, I’m avoiding, and I hate myself for doing it).
Unfortunately, at the end of the day – I’m still human, and humans are creatures of habits.
So don’t try to kick your bad habits.
Get new ones – healthy ones. Tell yourself that all you need to ‘get in the zone’ is a bottle of water and some good music.
If I can trick myself into liking fruit, you can do it, too!