There are some who say that human actions should be motivated by the pursuit of pleasure and, by implication, the avoidance of pain. Philosophically speaking, this also includes things that bring longer term pleasure, such as having a good diet and being nice to people.
Here’s something you might not have thought about – there are as many philias (love for something) as there are phobias (fear of something).
The top five phobias are arachno, ophidio, acro, agora, cyno. The top five philias are necro, liquido, meno, forni, agalmato, geronto (this list is just one I found on the internet and so is unlikely to be … accurate). Just add the phobia or phila to the end of either set of words to come up with the meanings.
Actually – this would make a really good quiz – see how many you know the meaning of before you look them up. Beware – some of them are not what you would expect!
Human nature is really flexible. It is entirely possible to turn a phobia into a philia, and versa vice. All you need is a bit of time and the willingness to try.
So, finally, we get to the part where this relates to writing. If you’re anything like me, there are parts of your writing process that you just do not like, such as editing (recenserephobia), deadlines (terminumphobia), responsibility (officiumphobia) and just plain getting on with it (inciperephobia). And yeah – I totally made those words up on the fly.
Here’s how to learn to love those aspect of your writing that you shy away from:
- Identify. Sit down and have a brainstorm. Pour all your loves and hates about the act of writing out onto a big old sheet of paper. It might actually be quite easy for you to identify what you don’t like – they’re the parts that you just don’t do, or only do if you are forced to by a furious editor (I should be so lucky). Whatever. Just write them down.
- Nominate. Choose one from your list, it doesn’t really matter which. You might be the kind of person that works from top to bottom, or easy to difficult, but whichever method you use – just pick one to be your guinea pig (note – no small, furry animals were harmed during the writing of this piece).
- Trivial. Chop your chosen aspect into teeny tiny pieces. Make the pieces so small that you can hardly see them. Make them so microscopic that you can imagine them as being tiny cartoon bunny rabbits, hop, hop, hopping across the screen of your imagination. For example, if we’re taking about recenserephobia, you might want to start with one sentence – or maybe a word if you’re feeling particularly threatened. But make sure it’s a cute example, like ‘The floppy ears on the bunny was real cute!’
- Opulence. There are things that you love doing, and places where you love doing them. There are smells and tastes that are really comfortable for you. There are sensations that really excite you or relax you – either way, they make you feel nice. Gather together a whole bunch of these things into one place. Make yourself a nest of them. Luxuriate in the opulence and splendour of your favourite things and sensations. Make yourself feel good.
- Genesis. Whilst still in the throes of your opulent pleasure, introduce your trivial piece of cutesy pie, hop, hop, hoppityness. Set it before you in all its sweet, sugary, innocuous beauty. Then … just do it. In one fell swoop, without hesitation, without thinking too much about it – change that pre-prepared, trivial sentence to ‘The floppy ears on the bunny were awfully cute!’ then to ‘Those floppy ears were real cute!’ then ‘Boy, do I love those cute bunny ears!’ then ‘Those bunny ears – cute!’ When you’re happy with that one sentence – save it, and relax back into your feathered nest and forget about the editing. Well done, you!
- Expansion. Choose yourself a chunkier chunk of editing (if this is what you’re engaged in). Maybe you’re ready to cope with two sentences in the safety of your pleasure boudoir, maybe you’re hot to trot onto a whole paragraph. Either way – keep inside your comfort zone. Remember, you’re at the baby step stage right now – and what a cute baby you are! Now, paragraph in hand, slip into your fluffy, terry towelling bathrobe comfort-zone and gently change that paragraph into something you can be proud of. The give yourself a treat – you done good!
- Endearment. Opinion varies as to how many times or for how many days something has to be done to make it into a habit, so I won’t bore you with the guesses. The fact remains though that, given the right conditions, we can grow to love things that we used to loath. Carry on expanding the editing (for example) whilst staying in your haven of comfort and you will find that you become accustomed to it, then blasé about doing it and then, one day, you will wake up to find that you are looking forward to doing it. You will have fallen in love!
Yeah, yeah, I know that look of incredulous disbelief you now have plastered all over your face. I’ve seen that look in the mirror and I know it intimately. So, let me just ask you a few questions.
Do you think that it’s easy for me to write these articles every day? Do you think that the discipline it takes is something that I found lying at the side of the road whilst walking my pet terrapin? Or do you think that I have to push myself every single day to turn that blank screen into the joyous gaggle of words that you see before you now?
The fact that I have totally enjoyed writing this piece is testament to the hours I have put in, not to mention the nails I quietly chewed and chocolate I had to force myself to eat. In short – I went through the programme, and I hope that you will too. Believe me – it’s worth it.
Here’s to pleasure, in all its many splendored forms!