I’m starting this in Cold Turkey Writer and I plan to move it to WordPress.
There are a couple things in play here:
1. If I use Cold Turkey Writer, I’ll write. I know that from getting many, many reps turning Cold Turkey Writer on and writing. When Tim Ferriss had Neil Gaiman on as a guest, Gaiman says (and I’m guessing he’s said this elsewhere as well) that, when writing, you should give yourself two things to do: write or do nothing.
Neil Gaiman: Yeah, ’cause I would go down to my lovely little gazebo at the bottom of the garden, sit down, and I’m absolutely allowed not to do anything. I’m allowed to sit at my desk, I’m allowed to stare out at the world, I’m allowed to do anything I like, as long as it isn’t anything. Not allowed to do a crossword, not allowed to read a book, not allowed to phone a friend, not allowed to make a clay model of something. All I’m allowed to do is absolutely nothing, or write.
If you can’t write because there’s nothing to write about, doing nothing will help you find something to write about. Hitting the “random article” button on Wikipedia will help you find something as well, but then it opens up a whole lot of other doors, many likely more tempting than the door that exits back to writing. So Cold Turkey Writer gives me two things to do (at least in the digital environment): write or do nothing.
2. Write in the editor. That’s something that’s stuck with me from reading and listening to Seth Godin. Okay this is also from a Tim Ferriss episode, but he talks about the importance of specific locations for specific work. He tells a story (which I will now butcher) about a study group he was in during business school. They’d always work together in a specific room in a specific building on campus. They didn’t take leisure there. When they were there, they got things done. He relates that to Typepad, which he’s used for his daily blog for years. He opens up the Typepad editor and writes directly in there. It’s the specific place he goes to and he knows what he’s in there to do. Write a daily post and get out of there. (Here’s another post where I mentioned writing in the editor. And another. And another.)
So I’m not actually writing in the editor right now. Again, this is in Cold Turkey Writer. I set a ten minute timer and it’s about to be up.
My mission now: get this text to the WordPress editor as fast as I possibly can.
Otherwise this might disappear somewhere in an endless pile of drafts1
If you’re reading this now… (tiny) mission accomplished.
- While I’m at it, this reminds me of a third, more recent episode of Tim Ferriss’s podcast. He interviewed David Allen, the creator of Getting Things Done. He talks about Evernote being a “write-only” tool for a lot of people. I have a lot of unfinished drafts there. Just a step away from putting them into an editor. But so far that’s just enough friction to stop me from doing it.