Writing resistance away | Skillshare Projects




Writing resistance away

4 DAYS IN UPDATE (december 5)
4 days in and 4 days of actively creating writing time.
As it turns out, I wasn't able to write after any of my triggers, but knowing that I had
a plan made me actively search for little chunk of time when I could actually write.
This was actually quite interesting to notice: one trigger would pass, kind of ringing a bell
shouting "it's writing tiiiime !", I wouldn't be able to do any thing about it, but the process
of having consiously picked triggers and built up a plan has greatly increased my awareness.
I will get the occasion to test these triggers more regularly from next week, as
my location and schedule change.
I've noticed that when I first decide that it's time to write and open my files,
I feel at a complete loss of what to do.
Some of the questions and fear that pop into my mind are:
Where should I start ? / There's no place to start / Is there even any point doing this  ? /
So you'll write a few hundreds words, and then what ? / You're just writing randomly, this
is completely useless.
So, yeah, Resistance (maybe I should give it a pet name or something) is well and kicking,
which I feel somewhat OK with. I acknowledge my inner discourse and pretend it wasn't
there. So far, so good: once I do start, this (resistance, nasty doubts etc) slowly fade away
and if I manage to go past this point, I can actually concentrate pretty well.
This part of the process is fascinating to me because I haven't felt any kind of flow in
(academic) writing in so long.
The good in the process:
- I love that I have set up so many small wins: they are so useful and encouraging (in a non complacency-enducing way). I feel gently empowered to go for as little or as much as I can or want, and it is still a win.For me, who has been struggling with a very all or nothing + perfectionist mindset, this is a reallypowerful tool.
- I added a layer of reward (a reminder reward ?) at the end of the day. Just after I complete my habit, I do a victory pose at my desk, add a check mark to my paper calendar, take a few deep breaths while looking at what I wrote and finally check the day on Lift. This may seem like a lot, I feel it's just right (and fun). Every night, just before going to bed, I add the number of words I wrote that day in Logg, as a way to reflect/remind myself that I've actually done it that day.
Anticipating difficulties:
- Doubts like "So you'll write a few hundreds words, and then what ? / You're just writing randomly, this
is completely useless" will probably grow stronger at some point, and I want to be mindful of that.
- I may need to add to my small wins items such as: "produce 200 words from academic sources"
Laying out the ground work :
Habit personality type
The result was a bit puzzling at first, but in retrospect actually makes a lot of sense.
According to the quizz, I am an obliger (extremely strong tendency, no surprise there),
an upholder and questionner (both equally strong tendency), and not much of a rebel.

Reasons for signing up
I am a researcher and cannot seem to be able to find time to actually write for publication.
This is of course more of an excuse than anything, because I believe we can always find a bit of time for things we think are worth it.
The truth here is, I feel so much resistance towards academic writing that I find myself paralyzed and tend to procrastinate away rather than even try. Which makes no sense at all, because resistance is not going to magically disappear while I procrastinate. It will actually only grow stronger, as it has in the last couple of years.
I do like writing in general. I do like research. So I need to let go of the idea of the perfect paper,
and simply focus on "just writing". Give myself permission to write badly as long as I do write.
I am hoping that making writing a habit will help lower the resistance I feel and that, after a while, writing will just be...well, writing...and not the big deal that I've made it up to be.
Writing is important for me, it is important for my career, it i also important to help decide on my next work move.
I plan on starting December 1st, and extend the challenge to the beginning of January.
The catch here is that December involves a bit of travel and a change of environment as I go back home for a few weeks. I actually see this as a good thing, since it will help me dive into this challenge with a bit of flexibility (something I painfully lack of).

Apart for lowering my resistance, the objectives for this writing challenge for me are two-fold:
1) Actually producing something everyday, thus getting closer to the end-goal of publishing 2 papers in 2015
2) Testing how realistic/sustainable is the habit of writing a little everyday or most days.
This is actually the part I feel the most excited about.

Most consistent habit in the past
After years of simply being unable to eat anything in the morning (and it having negative consequences),
I managed to find a ways to actually eat a light breakfast. This made a huge change in my overall eating habits and general well-being. After a year and a half of eating breakfast, I switched the emphasis on eating a healthy breakfast. I am now 3 months in.

My habit : everyday, I will write 400 words for my academic paper.

Anchor habits

- After I pour my post-breakfast drink
Taking into account changes of environment and schedule, 2 other triggers :
- After I pour my post-lunch drink
- After my family has gone to bed

Small Wins
I love the idea of small wins because of the flexibility (thus sustainabilty ?) it brings to the challenge,
and I feel it is something I've lacked in the past, when I've gone in with a whole or nothing mindset.
- Write 400 words every morning (or afternoon, or night)
- Write 200 words anytime
- Write detailed plan for one part
- Write detailed plan for one paragraph
- Write/compile bibliography
- Revise 400 words already written
- Write for 10 minutes
- Brainstorm ideas for other academic papers
- Take notes (100~200 words) from selected source


- I am tired / It's unfair I have to work
→ do just a bit and call it a day, think about how good you'll feel.
- I don't feel like it
→ the thing is, you do want to, you're just scared, and it's OK. Do just a bit.
- I don't have enough material
→ start with what you have, make note of what you will need.
- I don't know where to start/I feel stuck
→ start wherever, writing will help getting you unstuck.
- I don't even know where to publish yet
→ you do have a few target options, don't focus on all the technical details, just write
- What's the point ? 
→ build a habit, take your life/work in your own hands, it doesn't have to be good.

- Set up desk the night before: clean, no clutter, nothing but related files
- Firefox closed, Scrivener+Word open

- Lift
- Physical monthly calendar
- Lift 21-day challenge ?

That's where I am tonight, with a plan to start tomorrow. I actually feel a bit nervous, in a "first day of school" kinda way :)
Make it easy, if necessary, make it easier, and easier, and easier...!


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