In 2015, I read How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. One of the main ideas from the book was “goals are for losers and systems are for winners.” Since that time, I’ve been trying to find a system that would work for me.
A system is a set of processes or routine that you follow to get you closer to success. It is a series of steps that are easy to follow and shouldn’t require much motivation to accomplish. Once you embrace a system and start using it, it’s what you do and there isn’t a focus on a time frame for accomplishing the thing you want to get done.
Goals, according to Adams, are unreliable because they often require willpower and lots of emotional energy. And can be challenging if the goal doesn’t become realized within a certain amount of time.
Most of the writing projects that I’ve worked on have been “goals”. The project itself was the motivation to write, instead of being a result of a regular system of writing. Which is why I think I’ve had a challenge motivating myself to write after finishing a project.
Each writing project has been followed by months of not writing.
I’ve been trying to find or develop a system for my writing process for four years now.
I guess it’s similar to Austin Kleon’s “Every Day is Ground Hog Day”. And I just need to find the right processes to build my system.
In the vein of “do what I say, not what I do”, I think it’s more important to come with a “good enough” system rather than one that is perfect. If you wait for the perfect one, you might never get going. A “good enough” system can be improved and modified as you use it.
I’m working on my system though. When I finished my second draft of A Killing at the Cottage, I started on a new project the very next day. I’m building my system of writing slowly but surely.
© 2019 Peter Gruner