How to Awaken from the Rip Van Winkle Approach to Writing

How To Awaken From The Rip Van Winkle Approach To Writing

So, you know the story of Rip Van Winkle, right? He takes a nap for twenty years and wakes up to find everything changed. He missed out on a lot—his kids grew up, friends moved away or kicked the bucket. It’s like the ultimate tale to warn people about the results of procrastination.

During a recent Words Count writing session, one of our Prolific Writers Life members, Matthew Gollub, cracked a joke about his newsletter-writing style. He likened it to the “Rip Van Winkle” method. He admitted to taking his sweet time with it, opting for a laid-back approach. That got me thinking about how we writers tackle procrastination.

Acknowledging Our Own Delays

Let’s be real for a moment. I’ll admit it—I might be one of those writers who has been procrastinating on a book for longer than I care to admit. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, knowing that I’ve been delaying something so important. But just imagine for a moment: What would it feel like to have that book out there, ready for others to read?

To dodge the Rip Van Winkle trap, let’s switch gears. Instead of stressing over the process, let’s think about the folks on the receiving end of our work. We all have parts of writing we love and parts we dread. Next time you’re stuck in the editing trenches or promoting your stuff, picture the readers who’ll benefit.

Visualizing Impact: A Remedy for Procrastination

Think about it: your words have the power to move people. Whether it’s a book, a blog post, or a funny tweet, your work can bring joy, inspiration, or a much-needed laugh. Keep that in mind when you’re staring at a blank page.

Imagine the people soaking up your words—reading your book, forwarding your blog post to a friend, or hitting that share button on social media. That mental image? It’s like a shot of motivation straight to the writer’s soul.

Moving Beyond Procrastination

Procrastination is a sneaky beast, leaving us spinning our wheels. But remember, tomorrow is not guaranteed. Your audience needs your words, your stories, your insights—now. So let’s ditch the Rip Van Winkle approach and excuses, and start writing. Today’s the day we make a difference.


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