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Hard-to-find writing secret of a late Harvard economist

Michael Senoff’s in the ‘hard-to-find seminar’ trade.

If you’re in business, or write copy, I suggest getting on his list pronto. Some of his little-known seminars with marketing-insiders are solid gold. His emails are pretty good too.

This morning I read an email from Senoff – probably my favourite email I’ve read in years. It was all about John Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard professor and economist – now dead, sadly – who wrote some 48 books and 1000 essays.

How?

“I learned something very interesting,” Galbraith once said. “The quality of the writing I do on the days I don’t feel like it is just as good as the quality of writing I do on the days I do feel like it.”

It’s a bit of a mouthful, so read it again. Carefully.

If you write regularly, or want to write something significant in your spare time, this is a startling insight. Let me explain:

Every morning, for ten years, the first thing I’ve done is write. I sit down with a coffee, pad and pen, and I write. That’s every morning. Even Christmas.

Nevertheless, the fear of writing never goes away. What is it I fear? What, most likely, do you fear?

You fear writing crap.

You fear wasting time.

Adults have lost the valuable ability to play. To do something for the sake of doing it – fearless.

Yet if you actually do the thing you’re afraid of. If you sit down and write something, you WILL get the job done.

You will do it to the same standard as if you were ‘fired up’ wanting to write.

You will realise you have nothing to fear.

There are many days I don’t feel like writing. Most days, in fact. (If I only wrote when I felt like it, I’d probably have only written 2 or 3 paragraphs my entire life.)

Your feelings are not important. They’re just not. You need to ignore them.

So what does make the biggest difference? I’ve noticed 2 things all my big side projects have had in common.

Here’s a short video explaining what to do. Or read on…

1. Always do your personal writing project first

The brain hates working uphill. Once you’ve done your urgent work it wants to slack off.

This can be a killer if you’re trying to write a book, or some other personal project. You will keep putting it on the back-burner, never getting it done.

So do this first.

Give yourself the first 1-2 hours of each day to work on your personal projects.

2. Focus on the process, not the outcome

When you work on any big project, you cannot obsess over having the finished product.

The task appears too monstrous.

You have to focus on the process. Get up and aim to do a certain amount each day. When you do this, you throw all your energy into doing these small steps right – and you have a better outcome at the end.

 

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