Today, you've hit the wall. You’re exhausted, stressed out, and just don’t feel like writing right now. But you still need to send over that proposal to a customer, submit the article, or finalize the pitch deck for tomorrow.
How can you get yourself motivated to write when you’re not in the creative mood to do deep work?
There’s no time to wait on the muses to speak. So, try what I call the Project Passion Index (PPI) exercise to put yourself in the right mood.
I’ve adapted the PPI from Tony Robbins’ idea of The Quality Quantifier (read about it here).
PPI is a tool that gives you the control--to put yourself in the most resourceful mental and emotional state to do deep creative work, especially when you’re not “feeling it.”
The idea is to ask yourself--and answer--a series of questions that get you thinking about your level of passion for working on a project--based on a scale of -5 to +5, where -5 refers to absolutely dreading the project and +5 means you can’t wait to get on it!
Here’s how the PPI works. In a hardcopy journal or in a favorite app--like Evernote--create this dialogue with yourself. (Here’s an example of a recent one for me.)
On a scale of -5 to +5, where do I stand on the PPI with the [XYZ] project?
Right now, I am at a -2. That’s because, even though I have made progress, I am still behind schedule and the deadline pressure gives me a negative feeling about working on it.
What would it take for me to get my passion level to a +1, where I’m at least positive and hopeful about it?
Let me think about this: What would make this article “fun” to work on? I can make it into a puzzle. Each section in the article will be like a separate piece of the puzzle. If I focus on only one section at a time--say, the Lede--I’ll take my mind off of the other pieces that I have yet to form. In a way, I’m not only putting a puzzle together, but I’m also designing the puzzle itself, along with the individual “pieces” which gives me a greater sense of control over the “game.”
In a sense, I get to be both “creator” and “player.”
I can either create the “pieces” on separate index cards or in separate documents on the computer.
By completing one section, I’ll gain greater clarity on how the other sections might fit, which will give me a feeling of momentum--and more passion for the project.
Ok. So, I can see myself enjoying this “puzzle.” But what could take me to a higher level of passion--to, say, a +3?
Let’s look at this project in the context of my overall WHY. How does working on this project help push me toward my overall business goals?
Help me hone and master my craft of writing
Open doors to new business opportunities by producing excellent work
Connect with my readers--to bring them value
Learn how to grow an audience.
The idea of learning valuable lessons--and becoming more valuable in the marketplace--does make me more passionate to work on this project. I can see that taking me to a +3. What, then, would take me from a +3 to +5, where I just can’t wait to get to work on this?
I could build upon the previous ideas--that this is a fun puzzle, and the work I’m doing today contributes to my longer-term goals--and envision my audience’s reaction to the content. I have a moral obligation to grab their attention and keep it--to get my message across in a way that changes them...for the better. I'm realizing that with this article, I have the power to change people’s lives.
This is an awesome responsibility--and privilege. And I can’t wait to take it on!
Image Credit: Scott Webb via Unsplash