When Willpower Becomes a Vice

Cracked stone
Cracked stone (Photo credit: quinet)

For writers, willpower is a strength. Taking your writing seriously may mean forcing yourself to start writing even when you don’t feel like it. And eventually the words start to flow. But any advice can be taken too far.
One of my goals as a writer is to shorten the time it takes me to complete my work-in-progress. I try to set goals that challenge me. I have the flawed belief that if I try hard enough, I can do anything. To meet this goal, I started pulling longer hours, thinking that sheer will-power would see me through. But the markers I set that were meant to be challenging were too high.
I started sacrificing sleep and exercise to meet my goals. Well, regular sleep and exercise are important to keeping my bipolar in check. And after a few days… BOOM! Again.
Now, you might not have a mood disorder but I imagine that anyone who has been writing for a while both swears by the “butt in the chair” advice and has experienced times when it just does not work.
Just like a character’s strength can also be a weakness, forcing yourself to write usually helps you as a writer but taken too far, it can hurt you. Exceptions to the rule.
When my willpower weakens me personally and as a writer, I tell my pride to take a hike and go back to the basics. I usually find that I have sacrificed areas of my life that are basic to my well-being. It is difficult, but I reestablish the routine that meets the needs of a healthy lifestyle. Because a healthy writer makes for healthy writing. In the long-term.

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