Posts tagged emile zola
“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work“
Emile Zola (1840-1902) French artist and philosopher
Welcome to the second in our series on “Finding the Time to Write”.
Now in the last session we discussed the real problem that we have. We cover it up by calling it “Not enough time to write” or some such excuse. Let me be clear here. I’m using the word excuse here because it focuses on a symptom or a solution. Unless we focus on the real problem, we won’t be able to solve it. What’s the real problem? The real problem is simply “Not being able to get our book written”.
Examining that problem led us to the Work Equation. When that equation gets out of balance then we can’t get any writing done.
Cool so far?
Okay, in the next six minutes or so of this session we’re going to talk about identifying a solution to our problem.
So how do you get the Work Equation back into balance? How do you make sure that you are really going to write?
The answer is that you need to deal with all three elements of the work equation. Doing just one won’t cut it. That’s why you get the usual advice that just doesn’t seem to work. It’s not that it’s wrong per se. It just doesn’t work because it focuses on only part of the problem.
Yes, the solution is personal. My solution won’t work for you and your solutions won’t work for me. That’s fine. And yes, you can make poor decisions and poor choices. It’s unlikely given the problem but you can do it. Nevertheless, it’s not you.
The advice you usually get won’t work for anyone … except in a few unusual cases. It’s the advice itself that’s wrong.
In the last session, I gave the three most common versions of advice that are used to fix the problem of not being able to write a book. You’ll notice that “Figure out why you’re writing” and “Visualize the result” are focused on building the desire to write. “Just get it done” is focused on the system. Okay, I’m being generous here. Some people just like being cantankerous. But I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to focus on the positive here and presume they are talking about following a particular system.
The fourth most common piece of advice I didn’t really mention last time. It is usually referred to as building time management skills. This is focused on the ‘available time’ part of the equation.
And that’s why they don’t work. They’re all attempting to fix all of the problem by only fixing part of the problem. And since they don’t fix the whole — something else just goes wrong. You get past that bump and run into a wall.
So how do we deal with the whole? How do we fix the whole problem?
That’s where the three elements come in.
Now the first element is Desire. To build that up we need to focus on motivating ourselves. No different than any other employee. Just part of being a manager. We have to work too. We’re employees too. So you need to manage yourself. And part of that management is to keep yourself focused and interested in producing. In other words — motivated.
Now there’s two parts to motivation. The first is to figure out what will motivate you. “Figure out why you’re writing” as the guru said. Not entirely bad advice, just incomplete. The second part is that you need to continually reinforce the motivation. Motivation fades with time. It’s not a one-time effort. You need to continually motivate yourself.
The second element is Time. Let’s get practical here for a second. If you don’t have at least four hours to write per week, you’re never going to finish. Sorry. Even at four hours a week, you’re going to have a problem maintaining your motivation over the two months it will take to write a short 100-page book. So you need to find the time. And that means you may have to adjust your current schedule.
Look, we’re all busy today. I don’t know anyone who can just sit around for four hours a week. Or anyone who has a spare 24 hours to spend in a week. If you want to write, you’re going to have to become more efficient and more effective with your time. You’re going to have to steal minutes from other tasks.
Finally, the third element is actually three separate elements we can combine into one. Overall, I call it “The Effort Involved”. The solution to that piece of the pie lies in what we term your writing system. Now, I’m changing hats here for a second and talking from a Process Analyst point of view here. That’s why the “We”. It’s plural not royal. Okay? A system — any system — consists of process, environment and agents. How you write is the process. You’re the agent in this case, so we’re really talking about your work habits. And by environment, we’re talking about where you write. Mix them together and you have a writing system.
And your writing system determines how long it will take you to write and how easy it will be.
So the solution to finding the time to write is really a combination of Motivation + System + Stealing Time from your busy day.
Now here’s the kicker. You’re going to have to determine the details of the solution yourself. Why? Because it needs to be customized for you. What works for me won’t work for you. What works for you won’t work for me.
However, there are commonalities … ideas that I can share from which you can pick and choose exactly what you will use. And that’s what the next session will be about.
I hope you enjoyed this session and that you found it useful. In our next and last session, I’m going to give you three practical tips to help you develop your solution to the problem of finding the time to write. And I’ll also have a very special offer for you.