When “Just Do It” Isn’t Enough: Overcoming Creative Impasses

I got a question today from a reader, and it’s one that I hear a lot, so I thought I’d answer it for everyone. Here’s the question:

How do I get in the groove? How do I get my ass off the couch and do shit so I can be successful?

I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the idea.

First of all, this is not a technical question, so if you have technical questions, you should read Joel Runyon’s excellent guide to starting a blog.

If you’re a blogger or a writer (or an anything, really), but you’re having trouble overcoming inertia and actually creating the stuff you need to create (whether that’s posts or chapters or paintings or spreadsheets), I’m talking to you in this post.

Over the years, I’ve grown to hate Nike for coining the phrase “Just Do It.” Yes, it sounds so simple, and you probably think you sound like a badass when you offer it as advice. But, actually, I think you sound sort of like a self-righteous prig. It’s not always that easy. There are lots of things that stop people from “just doing it,” and some of those things are totally legit.

So, instead of “Just Do It,” may I offer the following: Figure out why you’re not doing it, then fix it. The reason you’re not “doing it” might be as simple as pure laziness (I’ve totally been there), or as complicated as a bout with depression. “Just Do It,” might fit both situations, but you’re going to come at it from very different angles. So figure out what your shit is first.

When "Just Do It" isn't enough of an answer

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2012 in Review

Don’t worry– I’m not going to talk about every single thing that happened in 2012, because a lot of things happened. I was in a show. I broke my foot. I went to New York for the second time ever in my life. I lost my job. I became a for-real writer. Not a run-of-the-mill year!

But I do want to talk about how I did on last year’s resolutions: be weird, live with less, and know what I want.

On being weird, I’m gonna give myself an A+. You have no idea how weird, crazy, and scary it was for me to venture out and be a blogger. I have never done anything even close to freelance before, and always worked at a steady job with a regular income (even in college), so this was a big step for me! My blog also helped me work through writing outside my comfort zone. (Yeah, believe it or not, dropping f-bombs was not in my comfort zone in January of 2012.) I let go of the fear of offending a few people and wrote with my own voice and humor, and it paid off big-time. Weird is the word, guys.

Living with less made a huge difference when I lost my job in July. We’d already cut back on a lot of things, but cutting back on a few more to make ends meet without a steady paycheck from me really didn’t seem that painful after the paring down we’d already done. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my biggest gain in this area has been setting up a housekeeping routine for myself, and living without my maid service. I know, I know– that’s not a big deal for most people, and I was extremely blessed to have ever been able to afford a maid service, but I was totally used to it. It’s not my favorite thing to do without, but now at least I know I can!

I’m still working on that whole knowing what I want thing. Like most people, I’m very good at verbalizing what I don’t want, but knowing and verbalizing what I do want is harder– maybe because once it’s out there, I have no excuse not to go after it! More verbalizing, fewer excuses will continue to be a goal in 2013 (and the rest of my life, I’m sure).

How’d you do on your 2012 resolutions?

Here’s what else has been going on this week:

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Five Things Not to Say to a Professional Blogger

I came across this today on Facebook, and I immediately started thinking about all the ways this applies to professional bloggers, too. (I am a professional blogger, lest you stick your foot in your mouth.)

Click to enlarge.

And so I do now humbly submit my version, Five Things Not to Say to a Professional Blogger:

Here’s what’s been going on in my bloggy little life this week:

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