Be Nice to Your Future Self – Write Today by Catharine Bramkamp
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us “Be Nice to Your Future Self – Write Today.” Enjoy!
You know who you are. You are the person standing before a sink full of dirty dishes because someone last night left them for you. How inconsiderate! Didn’t they know you’d have a hangover this Sunday morning?
How did this happen? Again?
There are many ways to care for your future self, and one way is to be the friend who does the dishes the night before so you don’t need to deal with them in the glare of the morning sun.
What we do today sets us up for success tomorrow, always. Simple, but surprisingly difficult to manifest.
Psychological research determined that when people feel connected to their future self, they are more likely to save for retirement, eat healthier, avoid speaking out of turn, avoid bad decisions with long term consequences.
In other words, every time you shop at Costco, you are being nice to your future self because no one says, I’ll just get toilet paper tomorrow.
The opposite of planning for the future, is of course, the classic human propensity to procrastinate.
Sometimes procrastination stems from a certainty that if you can’t manage a project right now, your stronger, healthier, more powerful future self will be able to complete the project with ease and delight. Like yesterday’s dishes, we leave the mess for our future super self to clean and call it a night.
Your future self may have superpowers, but I am unconvinced that my future self will be stronger, braver, and more competent to handle the challenges that are currently spread before me. In fact, my future self may very well need a nap.
How can writers be kind to their future selves?
Start projects today. Your current self can start a project, write a draft, sketch an outline, anything — so your future self arrives at the desk with words on paper and some kind of idea to work with.
What kind of help? Jot Down Your Ideas!
Novel ideas, blog ideas, drafts, research, that outline — all those pieces will be eventually assembled to create a fully finished novel or non-fiction book.
When you have a few minutes, research one of the subjects in your novel and save the link in your notebook. Or jot down a great comment from a client and save it for your non-fiction book.
Or if you finish up a blog today, your future self will wake the next morning delighted that the blog is finished and she can go to the beach.
Notes and ideas may not sound big and dramatic, and you’re right, they aren’t dramatic.
For writers, being nice to our future selves falls into the sunblock category: annoying but important.
For writers, being nice to our future selves falls into the sunblock category: annoying but important. But as you survey the resort on the second day of vacation and see dozens of bright red glowing guests, you will thank yesterday’s self for being so responsible.
Just like applying sunblock, it only takes about five minutes to check your lists and tabs and contribute one more idea, or one more sentence, or proof a draft.
In small increments, you can be that wonderful person who helped out future you.
I thank my past self every other hour for making today easier. And you will too.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, former co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back. She delights in inspiring her readers.