When committing to your writing and publishing goals, you’ve probably heard the age-old advice to “give 110 percent.” Yet, how often do you commit to working on your current work-in-progress—but not entirely. You say you are committed to writing, but only about 90 percent (or less).
Think about the times when you weren’t fully committed to writing. How difficult did it feel to keep that commitment, like to write daily?
Now recall a time when you were fully committed to your work-in-progress—or even starting and finishing a book, blog post, article, or essay. How easy did it feel to follow through on that commitment?
You probably realize that being partially “in” was harder than being “all in.” That’s not surprising because, in fact, committing 100 percent is easier than committing partially.
Why Being 100 Percent Committed Feels Easier
It may sound counterintuitive, but research proves this is true. Indeed, studies have shown that committing fully to a task or goal significantly reduces your cognitive load, simplifies the decision-making process, and helps you focus. All of that helps you write!
Reduced Cognitive Load
Cognitive load refers to the amount of mental effort or capacity required for a task, and it increases with the complexity of the task or goal. When you face a challenging task—like writing a book, your cognitive load increases, leading to fatigue, frustration, decision-making errors, or the inability to decide.
In other words, an increased cognitive load might cause you to stop writing…or never start.
However, when you commit fully to a task or goal—like writing a book, you free up mental resources. This is especially true if you have many commitments, especially ones you have committed to only partially (like publishing blog posts weekly or posting on social media daily). In such a case, your mental resources get spread across multiple tasks or concerns.
When fully committed to something, you focus primarily on that one thing, making the commitment easier to fulfill. Thus, it’s easier to write the book, essay, article, or blog post.
Simplified Decision Making
Many of us suffer from decision overload. However, when you commit completely to a particular task, such as writing a book or starting a blog, you reduce your need to decide—more than once—if you will take action on your commitment.
After all, you are 100 percent committed. You decided. That means you will take action to fulfill that commitment.
Additionally, when you are all in, you don’t waste mental energy thinking about whether you should fully commit, not commit, or uncommit. The decision is made, and now all you need to do is do what you decided to do.
So, you write consistently to achieve the goal of completing your book manuscript. Or you publish blog posts weekly and publish them.
Once fully committed, you will find it easier to focus on your commitment. For example, when you commit to a particular goal, such as writing a book manuscript, your brain becomes primed to focus on that goal. Other concerns then become less salient.
Thus, your commitment becomes a priority, and your decisions then revolve around that priority. That means it’s easier to say “no” to other potential duties or back out of activities to which you’ve only partially committed. And that frees up time to write.
How to Be 100 Percent Committed
Of course, committing yourself fully to your writing and publishing goals is not always easy. It requires discipline, focus, and a willingness to prioritize one activity over others. That’s why many people find it challenging to fully commit to anything, let alone a big project like writing and publishing a book or blog.
So how do you commit fully—100 percent—to your writing and publishing goals? Here are a few tips.
Understand Your Fear
Fear is a natural response to uncertainty. You can feel anxious and hesitant when faced with an uncertain or risky situation—and a writing career can definitely feel risky and uncertain. This is a common reason why aspiring writers and authors find themselves uncommitted or partially committed to their writing and publishing goals. They are afraid to take that final step because of what might happen if things don’t work out–or even if they do.
To get to 100 percent committed, identify and understand your underlying fear. Is it fear of failure? Fear of rejection? Fear of the unknown? Fear that you won’t be able to follow through? Fear that you will feel overwhelmed? Fear that you will be sorry you committed in the first place?
Whatever it is, acknowledge the fear so you can address and move past it. And remember that just because you committed doesn’t mean you can change your mind and uncommit if you find the commitment was a so-called mistake.
Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you to overcome fears and increase commitment. You train your brain for commitment and success by visualizing yourself as fully committed and succeeding as a writer, blogger, journalist, or author. In addition, you create a positive mindset that helps push you towards 100 percent commitment.
Take some time to visualize what it will feel like to be fully committed to your writing and publishing goal. Then, imagine yourself in the future reflecting on your success and feeling proud of what you accomplished because you were committed.
You also can visualize while in a hypnotic state. First, learn self-hypnosis techniques, and then imagine yourself being a committed person who follows through and achieves your goals. This is how you most effectively create new neural pathways and take on a committed person’s identity.
Surround Yourself with Support
Finally, it’s essential to surround yourself with support to help you get from 99 percent to 100 percent committed. This can include friends, family, mentors, or coaches who provide encouragement, advice, and accountability. It could also mean being part of a writing group or finding a writing buddy.
In fact. consider finding an accountability partner who believes in you and your goal and can help you stay focused and motivated. This person does not have to be a writer. Ask your accountability partner to regularly check in with you. For instance, you could text each other daily or weekly or even get on a Zoom call.
This support can prove invaluable in helping you overcome any barriers or obstacles that may arise, thus causing your commitment level to decrease.
Resistance Indicates Lack of Commitment
You may wonder how to tell if you are fully committed to being a writer. You can discover your commitment level by monitoring your levels of resistance to the commitment (writing your book, publishing blog posts, querying editors, etc.). Resistance can show up as a distraction, procrastination, or failure to keep promises to yourself.
For example, suppose you committed to writing a book. Still, you feel resistance daily when it comes time to sit at your computer and write. In that case, you aren’t 100 percent committed. If you were, there would be no question in your mind about if and when to write. However, your mental chatter about whether to write or not leaves you stressed and believing writing is hard.
In fact, if you just decided to commit 100 percent, you would sit down at the computer daily and write. Easy peasy. It’s not writing that is hard but trying to write without 100 percent commitment.
And keep this in mind: It’s easier to just do something than to resist doing it. (Sound familiar?) So, stop resisting and commit.
There is one caveat to what I’ve said about resistance. If you feel resistant to committing, ask yourself if you are “shoulding” yourself. In other words, are you telling yourself you should commit to writing when you don’t want to? If you don’t want to commit, there’s a good reason you resist doing so. And you probably shouldn’t commit at all. In this case, choose zero percent commitment.
Change Your Mindset
Your mindset plays a significant role in your ability to commit fully to your writing and publishing goals. If you approach a commitment with a negative mindset, which could include thoughts like “Committing to writing a book is going to be hard,” “This commitment will take up too much time,” or “I should commit to being a writer or author,” you will struggle to commit fully—or keep your commitment. However, if you have a positive and optimistic mindset, you’re more likely to commit fully and follow through on your decision.
One of the most effective ways to change your mindset is to focus on your thoughts. Replace negative thoughts about commitment with positive ones, and you’ll notice a significant change. And getting fully committed and staying committed will feel easier.
Commitment Can Be Easy
Pay attention when commitments feel difficult. That’s a surefire sign that you are not fully committed.
Then, if you want to commit, decide to do so. And stop resisting. Commit 100 percent to being a writer, blogger, journalist, or author, and take actions that align with your commitment.
Be a 100-percent committed person. No need to be 110 percent committed.
Make that your identity and your habits and mindsets will fall into line. That’s when committing 100 percent will feel easy.
When you aren’t 100% committed, do you find it difficult to follow through with your writing and publishing goals? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend or on social media.
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Photo courtesy of Anna Tolipova