I don’t want to write sometimes.
I don’t want to write a lot of times if I’m honest. I love the idea of writing, but actually sitting down in a chair and focusing on words is another matter. It’s not that I’m stuck and can’t write. I’m just lazy and don’t want to.
I could ignore it. I could try to give myself some sort of inspirational speech. Instead, I give myself an internal glare and the blunt paraphrasing of some advice I got when I was younger.
It was a small thing. I was maybe seven or eight and didn’t want to make bread. so I was poking around, putting it off for as long as I could. That’s when my mom advised me: ‘don’t think about it. Just go do it and it will be done before you know it.’
Scarlett: It’s logic, really. You can grumble, waste time and mental energy, and putter around for half an hour then do the ten minute project. Or you can shut up, shrug, and just do the ten minute project. Look at that. You’ve saved half an hour.
I don’t have to make bread for my family anymore, but there’s plenty of things I don’t want to do that I need to do. Sometimes it’s mending. Or housework. Or putting together thank yous.
Sometimes it’s writing.
Of course, shutting up and doing a thing doesn’t make it magically fun, but here’s the deal.
Eventually, you’ll have to do the thing anyway. The longer you wait, the longer your mental attitude is shot as well as hours (or days) wasted in procrastination and tainted with the knowledge that, at some point, you’ll need to buckle down and write that article or plan that launch or make that meal.
Scarlett: What she’s trying to say is, if you need to do something then just shut up and do it, for pity’s sake. You gain absolutely nothing by waiting except to make stones weep for all that lost potential. If stones could weep. Which they can’t.
Besides, what is procrastination anyway? It’s a focus on ‘well I want this’ or ‘well, this doesn’t make me happy.’
It doesn’t matter. Since when has the point of life been doing what you want?
Our life isn’t about being happy. It’s about honoring God and growing with Him. That is the standard by which we ought to measure if and when we should do a thing. Not ‘do I want to and will this make me happy.’
Scarlett: Okay, okay, Hope doesn’t mean there’s no room for happiness or joy in life. That’s totally part of this whole being alive thing. Her point is that it’s a blessing. It’s something to enjoy and be grateful for, but happiness in and of itself can’t be your end goal. Otherwise, you’ll be so focused on it that you’ll be miserable. Life is weird like that sometimes.
When I need to do writing and don’t want to do it, I sit down and write anyway if that is what I’m supposed to be doing. Yes, sometimes there’s a need for a break or I have to take a step back and focus. Especially when something like writing is involved. Sometimes though, I just need to sit down and get done whatever it is that needs doing regardless of feelings.
If there’s something you don’t want to do but know you need to do, then you know what you should do?
It’s that simple and that hard.
Whether it’s procrastination or lack of motivation or just wanting to lay around and do nothing because why not, face your excuses.
Tell them to shut up.
Then go do the thing.
The original version of this article was published in 2018 under the title Just Shut Up and Do It.