Writing Assignment: Talk Yourself Out Of Doing This Assignment

by Randy Murray on August 3, 2012

If you can talk yourself out of writing you will. Writers’ typically don’t possess superhuman will power or focus. They just write. It gets to be a habit, a way of life. It’s just something that we do, sometimes because we don’t know any better.

Talking yourself out of something is the flip side of talking yourself into it. Both of these approaches imply uncertainty. And uncertainty is an indication that you haven’t yet developed the habits and skills necessary to write and write well.

For the past few years I’ve been advocating these Writing Assignments as a way to cut through the uncertainty and to get yourself writing. I still believe that they’re a good approach. You have to make only one decision: will I accept these assignments?

If you have a desire to write, you need to establish the practice of writing every day. If you can talk yourself out of writing you need to ask yourself another question: do I really want or need to write at all?

It’s OK to decide not to write. Just be clear and honest with yourself. It’s not about time or interest. It’s just about sitting down and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). If you want to write, to become a writer, you need to develop the habit of writing. It’s really that simple.

For today’s assignment talk yourself out of doing this assignment.

You are assigned the task of writing for a minimum of five minutes on the topic of cat videos on the internet.

Now talk yourself out of writing it. Write down your reasoning, excuses, and arguments. Make it very clear why writing this assignment is a bad idea, or just not a good idea right now. Write a convincing and thorough argument.

Then read what you’ve written and make your decision. If you’ve made your case, you’re finished.

If, however, you have not presented a convincing argument you should complete the assigned writing task.

And if you’ve gotten this far and talked yourself out of writing about cat videos and writing your arguments against writing about cat videos, if you can do neither, then perhaps you need to have another discussion with yourself about writing.

Just do it on paper.


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The Writing Assignment: Talk Yourself Out Of Doing This Assignment by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cheryl August 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Really liked this assignment. Needed it actually. :) I am very good at talking myself out of writing…


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