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04.08.2021 |

Episode #3 of the course How to build a strong writing habit by Frank McKinley


You’ve waited long enough – welcome to Lesson 3!

In this lesson, we’ll tackle procrastination.

Still feeling hesitant? It’s okay to feel scared. But it’s not okay to let those fears keep you from writing.


Put Procrastination to Work for You

Your fears scare you because they seem real.

If you can put off writing, why can’t you put off being scared until later? When fear raises its ugly head, just tell it, “You’ll get your chance to mess with me, later. Right now, it’s time to write.”

Write today. Don’t show it to anyone. Say everything you always wanted to, but were too afraid to put on paper. Have fun! Then wait until tomorrow to be scared.

But wait, if you’re not showing it to anyone, what’s there to be afraid of?

By putting off fear, you’ll get a draft written. And then it will be too late to be afraid!


Pick an Easy Prompt

Nothing discourages people more than impossible goals.

In the last lesson, I asked you to list your five favorite topics. Pick one of them and tell a story.

Here are some questions to stimulate your thinking:

• How did you first get interested in this topic?

• Tell us about the person who influenced you the most.

• How did your interest shape your life so far?

• What would you have chosen if you hadn’t become interested in this?

• What advice would you give someone new to this topic?

You don’t have to answer all these in one sitting. But you can if you want. No rules! Just write.


Jump in. The Water’s Fine!

My son and I overcame the chill of a cold pool on a hot summer day by jumping in.

Jump in and dig deep. That’s how you draw your genius out. So put away the rules and the expectations and just write without inhibition.

Resist the urge to edit anything until later. Leave in the typos, the awkward sentences, and the disconnected ideas.

You can clean it all up later.


Starting Is Not Finishing

You need a draft before you can edit.

Separate these tasks.

When you write and edit at the same time you strangle your creativity, your honesty, and your best insights. Build a huge heap of words. The more dirt you have, the more likely you’ll find diamonds inside.


What to Expect after You Pour out Your Heart

You’ll have mixed reactions to your work when you first read it after pouring your soul on paper. So go, grab some coffee and rest a bit beforehand.

Wait a day or two if you can. Distance makes the heart grow fonder at home; it does with your writing, too.


Do This Now

Set an appointment for 15 minutes tomorrow morning. If you can’t wait, do it before you go to bed. Do it now if you’re excited! And if you want to take an hour, go for it!

Don’t like what you wrote? Just set the timer and write it again!

The more you flex, the stronger your mental muscles will be.

In our next lesson, we’ll learn the value focus can bring to your writing. Your favorite writers do this, and you should, too – no matter what your goals are!

See you in Lesson 4.

Keep writing,



Recommended book

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark


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