How Challenging Yourself With Short Writing Deadlines Can Boost Your Judgment and Confidence

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If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, then you already know that I’m a huge advocate of not forcing writing if you’re just not feeling it. Forced writing shows its seams and almost always loses its luster.

But let’s assume that you’re having a great day. The words are flowing faster than your coffee. In this case, it often can be worth it to challenge yourself in terms of pace/deadline. The challenge doesn’t have to be outrageous–a mild shift is totally fine. If you normally take three hours to write a chapter, for instance, just aim for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Or if you normally do 500 words an hour, aim for 525. But you can test yourself harder, too, such as doing 3 articles instead of 2. You just have to be realistic, because if the challenge is truly impossible, then you’ll only end up missing the mark and feeling defeated.

So why do this?

The point with this strategy isn’t to add stress. Remember, it’s something to use when the writing is working for you. The point is to encourage yourself to trim away the fat. When the deadline is shorter or the pace is a little faster, you have to trust your gut. You can’t get caught in the weeds when looking for sources. You have to make good decisions on the fly about what’s relevant or necessary. You start to grasp that you don’t need everything. It’s training your judgment.

I’ve found that, when you do all of these things, something miraculous happens. Your true voice starts talking. Even though you might be conscious of all your technique or audience or any number of things, your self-censorship deflates, because you just don’t have time to worry so much. You have to just do. It’s all about just finishing. And over time, you’ll start to feel more comfortable not waiting for yourself. It’s a major confidence booster.

None of this means that the draft you produce is going to be perfect. You still have to go back and polish. But if you combine this strategy with others, such as using a template, then you can produce solid content fast and reliably and increase the odds that the end result is closer to who you actually are. And in my view, the value for this can’t fit on a price tag.

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Wanda Thibodeaux

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux is a freelance writer based in Eagan, MN. Since 2006, she has worked with a full range of clients (e.g., Prudential, Duda Mobile) to create website landing pages, product descriptions, articles, professional letters, and other content. She also served as a daily columnist at Inc.com for three years (250,000-300,000 monthly page views), where she specialized in content on business leadership, psychology, neuroscience, and behavior. Currently, Thibodeaux accepts clients through her website, Takingdictation.com. She is especially interested in motivational psychology, self-development, and mental health. She is also the host of Faithful on the Clock, a podcast designed to help Christian professionals get their faith and work aligned.

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