Monday, October 4, 2010

Do the hard thing first

I saw this video clip on Faceblah about a week ago, put up by a fellow playwright, and I just can’t get the words out of my head.  

John Patrick Shanley, as most know, is that author of the play Doubt and directed the film version starting Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour-Hoffman.  He has been writing plays for decades, as well as screenplays (including the academy-award winning Moonstruck). 

Although he gives a lot of great advice here, the words that that I can’t get out of my head are: 

“Do the hard thing first”. 

In a time of monster task-lists and to-dos, we frequently do the “fun” and easy things first. 

(Or let’s face it we check our Facebook for inspiring videos or to watch those freaky two people dance with their hands—is that crazy or what?!)

I don’t really enjoy the activity of physical exercise.  I like being in shape and feeling healthy, but I’m not one of those perky people that bounce out of bed into a push-up and crunches.  If I workout first thing in the morning, though, I’m usually in a better mood and have a lot more energy than on the days when I don’t.  If I save my workout for the end of the day, often I blow it off for something more fun and easy.

This is why writing first thing in the morning can be so beneficial.  It’s not my favorite thing to do.  I don’t bounce out of the bed for this either.  It’s not easy and not usually fun, although it is rewarding.  Once it’s done, though, I feel accomplished. 

And once you get into a habit of writing, then you have to stop and ask yourself, “what’s the hardest thing I have to write today?”

Then write that first.  You’ll feel better after. 

But you’ll still have to workout, too.

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