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Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Today's SMT is to let your writing neuroses work for you instead of against you. Imagine if you were shadowed by an obnoxious person who was constantly telling you you couldn't do what you wanted when you wanted. You're about to work on something and this person says, sorry, you aren't allowed to work until a half hour after dinner, or when the sky is cloudy, or when you aren't waiting for the plumber, or haven't had an argument with a family member for 24 hours. Pretty soon you would tell this obnoxious bully to get lost. Yet chances are you are already doing this to yourself, with arbitrary and restrictive rules, some of which you probably aren't even conscious of. You feel your best work will be done under ideal conditions.

Those rules are the product of cognitive distortions. What you want to do instead is substitute a new set of neurotic rules that are actually not counter-productive. Go through your current rules and find the one or two that actually helps you. Keep those. Then invent a few more along those lines. I'll give some examples in a subsequent post.

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