Just like a “breakout novel” or a “blockbuster movie,” marketing slogans that hit it big and stick around are rare. I wonder if Nike knew their tagline of “Just Do It” would become an icon. Or that so many would steal those three little words and apply them to everything from asking for a first date to returning to college to skydiving. “Just Do It” implies we have complete control of our willpower and circumstances and hidden mental habits/beliefs.
Amongst the storm of a crisis, we should “Just Do It” and take time for self-care. In the midst of caring for a family, working full time, and volunteer work, we should “Just Do It” and go on vacation or sign up for an advanced degree or start our own business. Whatever the “clouds” of life that are swirling in a writer’s sky, we should “Just Do It” and finish that manuscript, hit publish, dump cash into a marketing campaign, and be present on every social media platform.
Like a light amidst storm clouds, if we could “Just Do It” then our lives would be perfect. Right? Listening to a webinar, a book coach said, “No one but you can finish that manuscript. Just do it.” When I heard that, I thought of Nike and their slogan and how many athletes took that step and tried a sport. How many writers, regardless of where they are on their journey, will “Just Do It” and write their manuscript (and the billion tasks that involve publishing it)? How far will they get by keeping their eye on that light in the storm? Will they be able to manhandle their willpower to get their “butt in the chair” and do the work to finish the first draft, the edits, the publishing?
For some writers, like some athletes, like some people at a precipice in some part of their life, will “Just Do It” and have success. Others will fall short of their goal. And some won’t be motivated by being told to “Just Do It.” Maybe some will need to stand on the leeward side of a wall until the wind dies down. Some may need an umbrella to keep dry. Others might be successful if they believed the thunder couldn’t hurt them. Not every writer facing the blank page or the daunting task of returning to an unfinished project will be motivated by famous shoes.
Whether or not being told to “Just Do It” moves them in the direction of their goal, it invites the writer (or athlete or employee or…) to investigate what makes them move forward or holds them back. Not to berate themselves or wallow in what ifs, but to tease apart the thoughts and emotions that keep them stuck or clears their way. When was a time you followed the advice of “Just Do It”? When was a time that something held you back?