Melissa Dahl

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Melissa Dahl

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May 2009

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Melissa Dahl I just answered that question where I blathered on about how you don't have to feel inspired to write; you can get your work done even on the days you…moreI just answered that question where I blathered on about how you don't have to feel inspired to write; you can get your work done even on the days you feel uninspired. But sometimes you still need an extra little nudge.

On those days, I would set a timer on my phone for 45 minutes. I'd tell myself I had to close out of Twitter and whatever other nonsense I was reading online, and for those 45 minutes, I had to just WRITE, even if I was mostly writing garbage. I'd also tell myself that I could stop when the timer went off.

There is no science behind that number, by the way -- I just picked it one day and it worked, so I stuck with it. But I think it worked because it was enough time to really get absorbed in what I was writing. When the timer went off, I knew I was technically "allowed" to go back to goofing off, but i rarely did. Usually, I kept working.

Later, I discovered that I did not, in fact, make this up -- it's a version of the Pomodoro Technique. Whatever. It helps! (less)
Melissa Dahl I don't, really? I think this is a big myth about writing -- the idea that you have to be ~inspired~ to write before you write. You don't!!

We tend to…more
I don't, really? I think this is a big myth about writing -- the idea that you have to be ~inspired~ to write before you write. You don't!!

We tend to believe this is how motivation, or inspiration, works. You have to feel like working out before you work out; you have to feel like writing before you write. But is that true, necessarily?

I wrote a short post about this years ago for Science of Us -- there will be days when you are not feeling particularly inspired to write. That's okay.. You can acknowledge that reluctance -- but it doesn't have to dictate what you do. It is totally possible to not "feel" like writing WHILE you are writing.

Being a journalist really beat this idea into me. You just don't get the luxury of waiting for inspiration when your deadline is in a half hour. Sometimes I wish my approach to writing was more muse-like or magical, but mostly, I appreciate my workmanlike attitude. It gets the job done.

(I mean, there totally ARE those magical hours where some idea or inspiration hits you in a flash! But that doesn't HAVE to happen. You can still get the work done, even without that magic.)

p.s. Here's that Science of Us post: http://www.thecut.com/2016/04/this-i...(less)
Average rating: 3.76 · 390 ratings · 73 reviews · 1 distinct work
Cringeworthy: A Theory of A...

3.76 avg rating — 390 ratings — published 2018 — 9 editions
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Hey there! Later this month, I'll be at 92Y, talking about my book and things that make me cringe!!!

Katy Waldman recently wrote this in a piece (that barely, briefly mentions my book) for the New Yorker: "'Awkward' serves as pop shorthand for a slew of identity-related concerns: Who are we? How are we perceived? How do the answers to those questions make us feel?"

That's not a bad summary of t... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on October 03, 2018 13:53 • 17 views • Tags: author-events

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One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson
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Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter
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Touch by Courtney Maum
Touch
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The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
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Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter
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Yawn by Mary Mann
"Depending on the type of stuff that you find interesting, a book on boredom is either a hard sell or a no brainer. I found this to be pretty interesting, and enjoyed the author's mix of research and personal anecdotes (which kept it from feeling b..." Read more of this review »
Yawn by Mary Mann
"Smart, insightful, funny, and made me re-think so much of the boredom I took for granted."
Yawn by Mary Mann
"this book is hilarioussssss, which I was ... not expecting, given the subject at hand. also omg it's so short. i mean that in a GREAT WAY. more books should be this short. yusss."
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The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
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More of Melissa's books…
“Little humiliations can bring people together, if we let them. The ridiculous in me honors the ridiculous in you.”
Melissa Dahl

“Little humiliations can bring people together, if we let them. The ridiculous in me honors the ridiculous in you.”
Melissa Dahl

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