Many, many years ago I was in graduate school for communications and one of the graduation requirements was to write a thesis. AKA a big-ass long paper. Like book long. The better part of the second year of the two-year program was dedicated to writing this thesis (without losing your mind, although that part wasn’t in the program description.)
This was easily the largest project I’d ever had to do. I was the girl who barely graduated from high school because I didn’t see the point and skipped classes almost as much as I went. I’m also a known procrastinator. Long story short, I sat at my desk day after day after day getting very little done. As anyone who’s had writer’s block or any kind of creative block knows, this can be pretty demoralizing.
I had a good friend at the time who was in the same graduate program. (So hard to focus and not Google her right now…) I was at her house one day and her boyfriend gave me some advice that I will never forget. It really impacted my life. A little background here: he was getting his Master of Fine Arts in writing so he clearly knew a hell of a lot more about fighting resistance to writing than I did. What he told me to do was grab a piece of paper and write on it in really big letters:
Just write the damn thing!
Then tape it up next to your computer so that every day when you sit down at your desk you can NOT avoid looking at it.
So I did. And guess what? It fucking worked!
I’m not going to pretend it was as easy as that. it took me almost six months to write my thesis and it was really really hard. But I was not able to avoid it as much as I had before because I had that sheet of paper right up there in front of me. It kept me accountable. Keep in mind, I had to sit at my desk. Nobody in college had a laptop yet. They weighed as much as a small car and probably cost about as much as one.
This is just the kick in the ass that I need it but in a more positive and loving way than “Just write the damn thing,” which, let’s be honest, definitely has a negative vibe.
I’m taping up my Write Now prompt right now. A huge thank you to Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen for these (and countless other) inspiration words. If you know who Danielle is, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking her out. This was one of many little gems in this email.*
I discovered Danielle when I serendipitously stumbled into a workshop she gave at the Texas Conference for Women a few ago, and I can honestly say my life has improved immensely because of my relationship with her. It seems a little bold to say my relationship with her because I’ve never met her and she has no idea who I am but just saying following her seemed inadequate.
I’ve always thought self-help was kind of bullshit, even though I was (and still am) attracted to a lot of the teachings. Who doesn’t want to improveWhat I love so much about Danielle is that I guess her work is fundamentally self-help but it is 100% bullshit free.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, here was the PostScript from that email today:
“P.S. – All creativity leads you somewhere, just write the chapter, just start the blog.
Creativity will make you clearer on who you are, on how you can serve the world…
… you will become happier.
… you will smile more.
… you will have better sex if you become more creative. True.”
–Danielle LaPorte and Linda Linda Sivertsen
Danielle also has her regular mailing list, which I highly recommend. I want to make sure I’m crediting the right sources. Oh good, I did learn something in graduate school after all 😉