You can take a crisp, firm, clear, confident, no-nonsense approach to your work, even for a day or a week.
Especially if you’re lost. Especially if you’re floundering or stuck. You can be the boss. You ARE the boss.
If you are writing fiction, you write the characters. They can try to boss you around, but you are in charge and can whip your plot, themes, mood, and the meaning of your work into submission.
If you knew what the answer was to make your work better or to get the flow going again, what would you do? Act “as if” you knew and write accordingly.
(Of course, you’ll ruin your work if all the characters—and the narrator—sound like you.) What will rescue your work is putting a stop to indulging in each character, scene, idea. Think of your characters like a kindergarten class where some firmness is in order. (All you writing teachers: Be kind to me if this advice seems horrifyingly off-base. I do know it works at the right time.)
Same with nonfiction.
If your book and ideas aren’t coming, you can give yourself and your pages a talking-to.
There’s the stern, “I can figure this out, and I can write 2 paragraphs or 2 pages or 20. I can get this concept down on paper right now, and I can go back and revise, add, disagree, improve.”
So many writers and experts I work with (myself included) feel intimidated by their work. But you’re the boss. We can get our ideas and writing to work, and we can get the progress we want if we have the clarity and the bossy-ness to move forward.
Alternatively, there’s the loving, “make friends with your project,” “the-boss-who-cares” approach.
That works too. You might be in a bad relationship with something you’re writing. I sometimes have a heart-to-heart with myself to discover what’s not right. I need to take on an attitude of fierce lovingkindness. In other words, we can love our work into submission.
This is sort of like what happens in couple’s counseling when the therapist asks you when and how you first fell in the love. The idea is to reconnect and reignite the passion, caring, and sparks.
Those sparks start the momentum to get you moving forward. If you take a role of loving leadership, you can get clear about what’s not working and you can instigate one caring step forward.
You can be the one to change the situation. See, you’re the boss, not your work.
Have you ever gotten bossy with your work? The stern kind of bossy or the loving kind?
Can you try it right now with a piece of work?