Do not consider painful what is good for you. —Euripides
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
Recently, I’ve been rereading one of my favorite Edith Wharton novels, The Custom of the Country, and stumbled across this line: “Everybody wanted him to write—everybody had decided that he ought to, that he would, that he must be persuaded to; and the incessant imperceptible pressure of encouragement—the assumption of those about him that because it would be good for him to write he must naturally be able to—acted on his restive nerves as a stronger deterrent than disapproval.”
Ain’t It The Truth
There is nothing that makes me want to write less than the idea that I ought to be writing.
There is nothing that makes me want to write less than the idea that I ought to be writing. Ugh. That’s a sure way to send me straight to the sock drawer or the spice rack to start reorganizing.
It is good for me. In 2010, a pair of scientists studied the effects of very brief writing on health and discovered that as little as two minutes a day could have a positive impact. That’s mental health as well as physical health. It’s fascinating how we resist these things that are good for us. The best thing that we can do, in this case, is to reframe the “ought to do” into something that we “want to do”. In my case, I want to feel I want to feel the calm, the sense of focus, and the surprise of insight that my daily writing exercises usually bring. I also want to feel proud of finishing my latest novel. With my eyes focused on what I want (particularly on the way I want to feel when I reach a specific goal), I can move forward with the task required to get what I want (writing). If you are facing a moment in which you don’t want to write, try turning your focus to what you do want which writing will bring.