Episode from the podcastHow Writers Write

Monday Motivation - Say Yes, Part Two

Released Monday, 7th December 2020
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Welcome to Monday Motivation- Say Yes, Part two

After last week's episode titled "Say Yes," I had a bunch of people reach out on Instagram and email. And I gotta say, I absolutely love it when I hear from the listeners of this podcast. Sometimes I hear such kind words, sometimes people say that something I've said didn't sit well with them, and I appreciate the opportunity to broaden my perspectives.

But, regardless, I had a bunch of people reach out saying that the episode really landed with them. And so I want to take this concept of Say Yes a step further with you because I really only scratched the surface of the power in those two little words.

It turns out "Say Yes" is also a great way to build that elusive "discipline." I can go on and on and on about how most people's concept of discipline is completely off, but I won't—maybe in some other podcast—but, if you define discipline roughly as "enforcing a desired behavior," it turns out "Say Yes" accomplishes the task, with only a slight tweak.

Let me set up the scenario. Your writing time is at 5 am and you just sucked into a new show on Netflix and the pilot episode is INSANELY good, as the first episode of Westworld or Lost or Homeland. Right as that second episode starts to load the little voice in your head says, "Dear Future author, you really should go to bed right now so you can wake up early and get your pages in."

And this is when we think about discipline. We try to call upon some kind of hidden force of will that will just propel us into taking the right action, getting to bed, and waking up refreshed and ready to write. We essentially try to "say no" to episode two of that new show.

I've yet to meet a single person who can keep up that kind of "say no" discipline and 1) move towards their goal and 2) be happy about it. We, humans, are hard-wired for pleasure, which is why we want to watch that Netflix episode. It feels fun and good. We are excited and want to see what happens.

Now, let's replay this scenario. You've just watched the first pilot episode of that amazing show and as the two-second episode is loading, you check the time and ask yourself, "what do I want to 'Say Yes' to? Do I want to say yes to watching this episode, which will be available for all time? Or, do I want to Say Yes to writing in the morning?

Can you feel the shift? Now you have a decision to make, but not a negative one. You aren't eliminating anything, you are deciding to "say yes" to the thing that holds a higher value in your life. If you can master this inner dialogue in the writing life, you'll never another ounce of discipline, because another truth of humanity is that choice trumps force.

Learn to Say Yes, and you can move in the direction you want because you'll be choosing to step into it. You'll have no need for discipline because you'll be actively deciding what you do with your life.

Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you have a wonderful week of writing.

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