It’s only been a month or so since I introduced you to the Willits, surely the most annoying creatures on the planet. The Willits always pop by unannounced—generally about two or three sentences into whatever I’m writing. And they don’t just tiptoe in. They announce themselves loudly, asking unanswerable questions:
Will it move anyone?
Will it be coherent?
And, of course—always—
Will it sell?
I called these unanswerable questions. They’re also completely irrelevant.
How will your audience receive you work—will it move them? will they buy it?—you have about as much control over that as you do over the wind. The middle question—will people understand your writing—you have a modicum of control over that one. But you don’t have to think about it—in fact, you should never think about it—until the first draft is done and it’s time to revise.
Writers ignoring the Willits
A dozen writers entered the 90-Day Writing Challenge that wrapped up yesterday. One of them never started; two of them dropped out in the first week. The rest navigated life and the Willits as best they could. And, believe me, life and the Willits threw everything but the kitchen sink at these people.
Two writers finished the full 90 days; a third completed her commitment of writing Monday through Friday for 13 weeks. One writer made it all the way to 70 days before life intervened—and then started a new streak the very next day. Another writer missed the full 90 by two days. Together, they raised $610 for their favorite charities in the U.S. and abroad. And they did something important for themselves. As one writer put it,
“It is amazing the benefits I have got from doing this – not just writing but positivity, focus, clarity and peace of mind.”
Positivity, focus, clarity, and peace of mind—the Willits hate those things.
Willits, Willits everywhere
Even if you write every day as I do (Day 522 yesterday), the Willits will still pop in. But they’re much less likely to stay if you have a goal, a commitment—to yourself, to your client, to a class. If your attitude is I’ll write this when I feel like it, the Willits will hijack your attention in a heartbeat. So set yourself a goal that matters—and pound your NO WILLITS sign firmly into the front lawn.