Commit to Doing the Work

About 18 years ago I was walking through Borders downtown in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I saw Stephen King’s book “On Writing” staring back at me from an end cap facing the door. It had a beautiful dust jacket with a picture of a light yellow house with a storm door.

I wasn’t into Stephen King’s work — and in fact, I’m still not — but I was drawn in.

Stephen King’s work may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s certainly not to mine, but I think we can all agree he is a prolific writer who can craft a story and weave a narrative like no other.

I picked up the book and devoured it in the Border’s cafe. I took it home with me — after paying for it, of course — and I devoured it again.

And again.

And again.

Over the course of a summer I must have read that book five times. Partly a narrative about his career, and partly a how to manual for writers, I was captivated.

One part, in particular, stood out, and I have come to that teaching time and time again over the last 2 decades.

Stephen’s writing habit was a goal of 2,000 words per day. Some times he would write more, and sometimes less, but over the course of three months it would add up to about 180,000 words — enough for a first draft of his novels.

While you may not be a writer — and really, I’m not either — there is an important lesson to take away from Stephen’s goal.

And it is that of consistency.

In order to be good at something — truly good at it — you must be consistent.

Consistency, devotion, immersion, is what differentiates you from those who merely dabble. While there’s nothing wrong with dabbling, after all, we all dabble in something, don’t we? But if you want to master something, it won’t do to dabble.

Whether it’s yoga, meditation, mindset, stamina, painting, a little dab won’t do ya.

You must dive in. You must commit. You must go headlong into the abyss and do so knowing that what lies on the other side is mastery.

If you want to master your mindset, if you want to learn to control your thoughts and your emotions, if you want to rule your mind instead of letting it rule you, you must, must, must commit to a daily practice.

But, like Stephen King’s writing goal, it doesn’t have to be hard and fast.

Stephen aims for 2,000 words, yet doesn’t always hit the goal. Sometimes it’s more; sometimes it’s less.

But what matters here is that he tries. What matters is that he sits his ass down and does the work even if he doesn’t want to, even if it’s unpleasant, even if it’s like pulling teeth.

When you sit down and do the work, when you are committed to doing the work, it’s ok to suck. It’s OK for the work to be bad because there’s always tomorrow. This is just one day out of many.

As you sit down into our meditation session today, remember it’s OK if this sucks. It’s OK if this is only a few minutes long. It’s OK if your mind wanders and you can’t follow along for more than a few breaths.

What matters more is that you commit to the process, commit to the suck, and commit to showing up again tomorrow.

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4 Comments

  1. Crystal Gray

    Thanks for this!!! When I was writing my book, I also sat down and wrote daily. 1000 words but it still helped me get to my goal!

    Reply
    • Sūvata

      I remember! You were a writing machine!

      Reply
  2. Sukhthave Singh

    I always want to write my life story to my grand kids but just don’t know where to start

    Reply
    • Sūvata

      Is that what’s stopping you? Just not knowing where to begin? If so, perhaps begin in the middle. Begin with a pivotal life moment; something that defined you, and work backwards from there.

      Reply

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