This fantastic guest post comes to us via the lovely Amanda Lee (whose blog is now defunct).
Be careful of using the phrase “have to” when you’re discussing your personal endeavors.
In conversations with others, I try my best to reserve “have to” for the things that I actually do have to do, and say that I “want to” do.
Every Friday I have to do laundry. Every day, two or three times a day, I have to vacuum the dog hair off my floor so my clothes will be sufficiently hair-free and my nose doesn’t start to run. Once every three months I have to change out the box of baking soda in my fridge.
And when my parents call I have to call them back within a few hours, or otherwise they’ll have the NYPD banging on my door to make sure I’m not dead. (No, seriously.)
But, I’m staying in tonight because I want to write. It doesn’t matter that I might be working on someone project, on a deadline that wasn’t self-inflicted. It doesn’t matter that I have other stuff I’d like to be doing if I could be in more than one place at once. I’m still choosing to write because that’s exactly what I want to do.
It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.
Without actively affirming that you want to do something, you have less incentive to do it. “I have to write tonight” becomes “Damn it, I have to write,” which isn’t too far off from “I really don’t want to write tonight, so I’m going to blow off my novel so that I can go drinking.”
Remember, you have to be specific about wanting to do creative work. If you don’t have the desire to do it, you have no reason to do it. And then you won’t. Click To Tweet
How often do you use ‘have to’ when you could be using ‘want to’? Do you think there’s a difference between the two?