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Ashlee (she/her)
Ashlee (she/her)

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Just do The Thing

I don't know where Joshua Fields Millburn was inspired by his advice, but Steven Pressfield, Nike, and he all have roughly the same thing to say: "Just do it."

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce dancing with the words "Just do it" moving with her

JFM said in "How to Improve Your Writing: 3 Tips"

I didn’t become a writer until I developed a writing habit. People don’t learn how to write via osmosis; it takes work. So forget word count or page count, and don’t worry about creating the perfect writing space—focus instead on sitting in the chair [emphasis mine] distraction-free, writing for at least an hour a day. Do this for a month and you will improve more than you thought possible.

In The War of Art, Pressfield talks about Resistance numerous factors surrounding it. I haven't gotten too deep in it yet, but Resistance is what we have to fight every time we want to do something meaningful. You could be avoiding doing The Thing out of fear, worry, sheer boredom, whatever. At the very beginning of his book, he says

There's a secret that real writers know about that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.

What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

This is the 15th day of my 30-day blogging challenge, so I'm over halfway there. I have to agree that the hardest part about it all was sitting down to write and get started. There's always something to be distracted by: watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu, playing with my dog, scrolling through the Twitter, ...

But all of those things will be there after The Thing is done. You might also find that The Thing wasn't so bad or it didn't take as long as you thought it would. Just sit down and do it. You've got this!

Jake Peralta excitedly giving Amy Santiago an encouraging thumbs up

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Top comments (9)

petersimnz profile image
Peter Sim • Edited

I'm a great procrastinator, so I was drawn to reading this piece, thanks Ashlee. What you say applies equally to software development, another creative endeavour.

The procrastinator is thinking that if people read your article in say, October, they might be drawn to Nanowrimo.

Maybe it's fear of failure or the feeling that I'll do a better job if I wait until I know I'm ready, but notice how easy it was for me to find an excuse for action.

As the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi (Lao Tzu) is reputed to have said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". To which we might add, "so just do it." Now, all I need to do is find the energy for that step.

mx profile image
Maxime Moreau • Edited

Yeah totally agree. Just don't wait to be perfect, make mistake and learn. As a young developer I was kind of scaried, but now I'm just going ahead, fast and learn. It's hard to tackle procrastination, this little bitchy voice :(
But by building things we can.

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her)

I’m glad this article was helpful for you! Totally understand the energy thing. As someone who suffers from chronic pain and migraines, I’ve found that sometimes I have to sacrifice what I do in a day to make room for what’s most important to me. It’s hard to accept that I can’t get everything done the way I want to.

rahulchowdhury profile image
Rahul Chowdhury 🕶

I can relate to this. I blogged every single day for about four months, last year. The hardest part was to sit down and write something, any lesson or trick that I learned on a particular day.

However, coming up with an idea and then write that first line seemed to work for me in finishing up an entire article.

Kudos to your current challenge, Ashlee.

flrnd profile image
Florian Rand

I try not to push myself too hard. In my case, the reason to not sit down and write was about publishing.

I developed the habit of writing 2 or 3 times a week, but I don't post it.

Since I joined I've written a few posts but I only posted some of them. No pressure, I like to write and I want to continue being an enjoyable activity.

I think it gets easier if we just enjoy what we do, like playing with my cat!

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her)

Sounds like you’ve found what works for you! :) I think one of the only rules about writing is that you have to do it regularly.

flrnd profile image
Florian Rand

Yes after a lot of trial and error!

Absolutely! I think skateboarding taught me that rule (and resilience!I still skate and I'm 40!).

lauragift21 profile image
Gift Egwuenu

Thank you. I have a pile of pending articles to write. But I keep procrastinating. I won't lie I love the feeling when I eventually write and complete it but just sitting down to start is my biggest problem.

rohovdmytro profile image
Rohov Dmytro

Formulate: focus, nail it, feel satisfied.