The last couple of weeks we’ve discussed the difference between commitment and motivation.
A true commitment is a heart-felt promise to yourself, from which you will NOT back down, no matter what the circumstances. Hopefully, you have re-committed to your writing in a signifant way!
When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. But then what?
The Slippery Slope of Compromise
Unfortunately, what often follows (sometimes after a very short period of time) is a compromise. Little ones at first, but they grow quickly into big ones.
Writers have good intentions and dreams, but only a few are willing to commit to what is necessary to achieve them. Zig Ziglar said,
“It was character that got us out of bed,
commitment that moved us into action,
and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”
So then…what keeps us from following through? Compromise. (I’m not talking about the good kind of compromise, where everyone “gives” a little so we all get our needs met, but the kind of compromise that keeps us from becoming writers of excellence.)
What Happens to the Commitment?
One definition of compromise is “a concession to something detrimental; to reduce the quality or value of something.” In our minds, often without conscious thought, we reduce the value of writing daily (or whatever we committed to.) It becomes less important over time as life’s other demands take precedence.
Unfortunately, compromise is more common than sticking to a commitment. As Bertrand Russell once said,
“Real life, to most men, is a long second-best,
a perpetual compromise
between the ideal and the possible.”
What is the ideal? Whatever goal we committed to. What is the possible? It’s the second-best choice–the compromise–we sigh and accept.
Accepting Second Best
How do committed writers compromise? Let me count the ways:
- I know I said I would write for an hour every day this week before going to work, but I’m too tired today, so I’ll read a writing blog today instead.
- I committed to writing twenty minutes before taking a break, and I mean to do that, but I just have to answering a ringing phone!
- I committed to writing one query every week, but since this week got away from me, I’ll start over next week.
What’s the answer? Pay attention to when you compromise. Is it when you’re overly tired? Then get to bed earlier. Is it after you’ve talked to your super successful friend who leaves you feeling depressed? Then write before you see this friend.
Search out the reasons you compromise and block them! Never under-estimate the power of commitment without compromise.
As Bill Cosby said,
“Anyone can dabble,
but once you’ve made that commitment,
your blood has that particular thing in it,
and it’s very hard for people to stop you.”
And the person who most often tries to stop you? Yourself. Recognize it. Be alert for the temptations to compromise. And just say “No, I’m committed to this.” And go back to writing.