This week, something odd popped up on my Google Calendar for Saturday. “Huh. I thought this weekend was free.”
Now, I know. This time of year is really busy for all of us. I’m preparing for New Year’s guests – cooking, getting the pantry stocked, buying new sheets and trying to un-dig myself out of mountains of clutter from the past year. I feel like this year was a particularly slow slog, although I started getting my mojo back in September. I’ve made a few in-roads on the housekeeping pre-resolutions, but now I’ve got to ask: “What about writing?”
I’m reading a book now called Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini, and it’s all about preparing the way *to* the message, but the lessons in the book are readily transferrable to all sorts of actions. A copywriter recommended this book on Reddit for other copywriters who want to write persuasive copy, something that will sway others. But Cialdini points out that you can use these techniques to persuade yourself.
Long-time readers of the blog know I’m interested in “priming” – another way to say pre-suasion – and I’ve written about Thinking Fast and Slow and other books. I’ve even made puzzles for our readers to prime us to write.
So, this is nothing new, but a new book makes me want to try an old approach again.
I’m going to write. My goal is to write two stories. For preference, both about the winter season, and if possible, one of them about ghosts.
But I’m also going to use December to set myself up to succeed. I’m going to clear out two writing spaces, and figure out a way to put up posters and inspirational slogans. I’m going to select a Word of the Year for my writing career, and put it on the post-it over my computer’s camera lens. And I’m going to figure out an “if/when, then” plan for writing this year.
This is from Cialdini’s book. Say, for example, you want to strengthen your ankles for winter sports (such as walking from the house to the car on a sheet of ice). You set up a trigger, and associate it with your goal. “If/when I brush my teeth, I’ll stand on my tippy-toes and lower myself back down 20 times.” You hook up a new habit to a recurring event, triggering event, or old habit that perhaps your parents or teachers laid down for you in the distant past (like brushing your teeth).
I love a new beginning, and December 1 seems like a good time for a mini-beginning for mini-goals – ramping up in to the new year and the new decade. Enjoy your November, all!