Can a Tiny Move Improve my Intention to Write?

(-a repost from a writing class.)

Dear Truth Writers,

What a wonderful class we had last night. The laughs on your remote screens were contagious. Well, we are here – ready to take on a project of sorts – a commitment to writing with ourselves, nailing an idea of what our creative project can be and simply giving ourselves the needed time to commit to writing one thing at time. I’ve listened to your ideas and I am excited for you and the possibilities. Whether its establishing a writing routine consistently to hear your voice and pay attention to the stories inside of you or, if you’re pondering what should you focus on — you are in a good place as long as you decide to take action. But, please remember, we don’t want to “think ” about writing too long. We want to commit to a choice and lean into our personal “Why.” This is the intention behind the writing.

Here’s a peek into my why.

I have an enormous pile of paper and writing that I need to sort, declutter and read. It’s been staring at me for a while. The pile is looming near my desk. I’m a messy writer who spreads everything around my workspace and pins note stickies on a cork board. I’m visual and i like all kinds of paper stuff. Sometimes my paper gets out of control. I have an inner conversation about the clutter which is a lot of self talk of me justifying why I need to keep this or that. I neglect to pick up one piece of paper and commit to staring at the pile. I might even hold my breath while looking at the pile. I’m anxious, but will never admit that I’m really stressed about other things happening in my life – mothering, routines, wellness, dog care, and keeping up with all the endless schedules, but something eventually interrupts my noise.

I stop fooling myself into believing the lie that everything is ok. I do what I do best learned from my improv acting instincts. I trick my brain. I play pretend with myself and lean into my “eyesore” pile and make a micro choice -anything that moves me from being in my head and more into my body and my space (aka my woman cave). Micro choices come in a variety of choices – reading a book, journaling a thought and organizing my work piles, one paper at a time.

Did I just say by moving one paper at a time? Yes, I did. I move a single sheet of paper and then a book, breathing in between each swift action. This is my warm-up. Yes, writers we need to warm up the engine!

Next step. I ask myself a question.

“What kind of writer do I want to be?”

Asking an internal question forces you to reflect on your identity in the here and now. I thought a lot about my writing journey and what it means to become a writer. I thought about who I wanted to be. The pile on my desk didn’t look so bad. There was a lot of mental chatter in my headspace suggesting I do nothing and keep the status quo. Then a new thought surfaced. Could I use my “procrastination pile” as motivation and do a simple identity shift? You betcha. (Insert a breath here). I’m definitely not interested in being a disorganized writer who is spending more time searching for written words than someone who is writing them.

So, what’s the fix? Habit expert and author James Clear of Atomic Habits says, ” True behavior change is identity change. You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you’ll stick with one is that it becomes part of your identity. Improvements are only temporary until they become a part of who you are.”

I’m putting myself on a test, an experiment of sorts to see how much I get done with eliminating my clutter and downsizing my pile to focus on a single activity. I promise I will throw away at least one basket and reduce my paper to give my writing some breathing room. This weekend its all about how many tiny moves I can make. One new habit put to the test. I’m calling on all paper ferries to help me. I’m holding you accountable too. Make one tiny move towards your progress. Be the writer that you want to be and set an intention. See what happens and breathe.