Do you read as a form of procrastination?
I read the New York Times, Facebook, e-newsletters, and Kindle eBooks. I’ve got hard and softcover books stacked by my bed, along with print-outs of articles.
I feel a little panicky if I don’t have something with me at all times to read.
In addition to checking for keys and wallet, I check my bag for “something to read” before I leave the house.
But this is not another riff on procrastination, even though you know that’s one of my favorite topics. (I define reading as “productive” procrastination.)
I want to share with you something that caught my eye this morning.
The words “As If.”
Author Steven Pressfield based his regular Writing Wednesdays email on those two words.
He tells us that he writes “as if” it were going to be published by one of the Big Five traditional publishers or be considered for a Nobel Prize or be reviewed in The New York Times.
He writes “as if” he’s a highly paid professional.
And then he jumped to a bigger idea. He writes “as if” his words matter, as if they are making a difference, as if his sanity depends on them.
Several months ago, I dragged myself out of bed on a number of mornings and said, “What if I acted today as if I were not depressed? What would a calm, clear-thinking Debbie do? What actions would she take?”
It was a terrific device for reframing a confused state of mind and for alleviating the “stuckness” of depression. And it worked, at least to some extent.
The same reframing can be used for your writing or for a talk that you’re working on.
What if you approached your words as if they had meaning, as if they mattered, as if they could make your readers and listeners feel hope and possibility?
That belief turns your efforts to articulate your idea into a consequential action. It changes the experience of “struggling” to get it right or make it clear into… just one step in the process of creating and delivering to your audience.
Writing is hard.
You don’t need to make it harder by expending energy wondering if your words are important enough or if you can make a difference. You can and you will, if you persist through all the stages of writing.
Steven Pressfield calls it turning pro. He means taking yourself seriously enough as a writer that you will beat down the Resistance to getting the work done.
That’s what I’m doing as I continue to refine what it means to Reinvent Your Life and Work. Do I have it all figured out for my keynote and my book? Nope, not yet.
But I’m working on Reinvention as if my approach will offer my readers hope and possibility, a path forward and the courage to follow it.
That gives my writing a purpose. My time at the keyboard is not just a solitary quest.
What “as if’s” will you adopt today?
Yours in possibilities,