“Want to be more successful? Do more of what works and less of what
doesn’t work.” Sports Coach
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the
inessentials.” Bruce Lee
There’s gold to be mined for all of us in these nuggets of advice — today and every day.
Doing more of what works — what a simple recipe for success, but how hard it is to put into action! As writers, we all pretty much know what “the essentials” are for improving our craft:
Making writing a priority: devoting time and space in our day to thinking and creating.
Making deliberate practice — working to strengthen our weak skills — an intentional focus.
Making a passion for completion a daily pursuit in order to build our “commitment muscle.”
We might also add:
Making perseverance a goal and “fight through it” a mantra when we hit roadblocks.
Making reading and supporting kindred spirits part of the “fuel” that ignites our ingenuity.
Whatever projects we are working on, these are surely among the building blocks we need to bring to our pursuit of the writing life. But our boy Bruce may have hit on another “essential” — the need to “Hack away at the inessentials.” The more we subtract what isn’t working — the distractions and habits and choices that get in the way — the more time and energy we free up to devote to developing our craft. So what are the “inessentials” we should all be hacking away at? The time-wasters we should avoid?
Mine are pretty obvious: 1) Lack of self-organization — not having a clear-cut daily plan for what I want to accomplish, which often allows me to drift instead of do. 2) Not structuring my day so that I can devote major chunks of time to my work. 3) Being easily distracted by distractions — and allowing them to divert me.
How about you? Can you come up three “inessentials” to hack away at so you can give your precious time and energy to what matters most? If you do, please share them as we all write on!