How the ADKAR model got me out of my writing funk
For the past couple of months, I have found myself in a “Writers Funk.” Now, this may be different for every writer out there in the world, but for me, this funk has consisted of; procrastination, fear, and feeling unmotivated.
Could it be that I have started to feel the pressure and anxiety of the impacts of COVID-19? Maybe, but I don’t want to lean on this pandemic and make excuses for myself. I have just fallen in a writer’s funk, and it took a designed strategy to get me out of it.
As I look back and think about these past couple of months, I guess I got complacent. I finally got to a place where I could earn money writing for clients, something I’ve always wanted to accomplish. And as I got there, I left my passion on the side of the road. Collecting a check became more important than the passion and purpose of writing. Inspiring and helping others through my written word was lost.
After a family dinner a while ago, my aunt gave me this book: ADKAR, How to Implement Successful Change in Our Personal Lives and Professional Lives. I was hooked right away after reading the acronym and diving further into the book. The more I read, the more I understood why I was in this writer’s funk. Putting this strategy to use, I am excited to say I am back to where I should be mentally, remembering why I started writing in the first place and eager to share this model with anyone that may in their own funk.
The ADKAR Model
The ADKAR model frames awareness as “the first step of a person’s understanding of the nature of the change, why the change is being made, and the risk of not changing.” I became aware of the need for change when I had no desire to stay consistent with my writing routine. When I wrote, I was heartless, without passion, and no diligence behind the work. A feeling that I will make sure I never to feel again.
Writers have a responsibility. They owe their readers and clients 100% of themselves, valuable content, and informative messages. Any half-ass work, and I believe we are doing them an injustice.
I knew the change had to be made because continuing to write as a zombie was not an option. I have no shame in saying I make money off my writing. But I have guilt in writing and earning money without passion and love for what I am doing.
Lastly, the risk of not changing. I was on a path of burning out. If I had continued being a writing zombie, the feel, love, and passion for writing would have become dead. That was not an option. Writing has saved my life, and while I’m still living, I will continue to write responsibly.
“Awareness of the need for change.”
“Desire is represented as the willingness to support and engage in a change.” It comes down to the nature of the change and what’s in it for us as individuals and personal situations.
The desire of wanting to get out of my writer’s funk was nonexistent for a while. I became complacent on simply writing to collect a check, and not following my daily writing routine, or even posting on Medium and other content forums that I write on.
This chapter made me take a look in the mirror and decide what kind of person I wanted to be. I was faced with questions like: “Do I want to live a lie, as a so-called passionate writer?” and “Do I want to love what I’m doing daily?”
Sometimes the world makes us believe we are too cool to question ourselves, to not go against the grain, rather than going with the flow. The “what’s in it for me” factor of this model was integrity. I want to not only be a writer with integrity but also a human being with integrity.
After reading this chapter, the desire became strong and undeniable that the change needed to be made.
“Desire to support and participate in the change.”
“When a person has an awareness of the need for change and the desire to participate and support a change, knowledge is the next building block for realizing that change.”
As writers, before writing a piece of content, whatever it may be, we want to become knowledgeable on the topic. Some writers write on topics where they have vast amounts of experience, and it becomes second nature. They were already knowledgeable. Some writers need to become knowledgeable on the topic by studying or reaching out to knowledgeable individuals on those topics before writing.
Before my writer’s funk, this was one of my favorite parts of writing. I would be excited if I was going to begin writing on a topic that I did not know or have any recent experience in. I consider myself a sponge, so reading and studying up on topics becomes easy.
I had to get back to that. Was I studying before writing on topics during this funk? of course, but the passion and sponge-like mentality was not there.
After reading this chapter, I had to get back to that. I needed to pick up more books, read more articles, listen to different podcasts to get my mind flowing as it was before. A mental cleanse per se. This didn’t take long. After a few days of focusing on my old routines and focusing on my mental state, I snapped out of my zombie phase.
“Knowledge of how to change.”
“Ability represents the demonstrated capability to implement the change and achieve the desired performance level.”
Knowledge alone does not automatically translate to ability. Knowledge is usually insufficient by itself, but when backed with the proper skills, abilities, and wisdom to implement, that’s when it becomes the total package.
During my writer’s funk, I would have moments that I would open up Medium, Quora, and other writing platforms and just sit and look at a blank page. Write a few sentences and then delete. I would do this over and over again.
My confidence had been diminished. I had no belief and faith in this God-given gift to write. As a writer and a former athlete, I understand that confidence is everything. Believing in yourself and your abilities put you on a different playing field than the person that does not. As much confidence as an athlete needs to have before stepping out on the field or court is just as much as confidence as the writer needs to write great content.
I had to go back to my older writings and read the comments on how it made readers feel. I had to hear confirming’s from my wife. Whatever it took, I desired to get my confidence back, I needed to believe and know without a doubt that I could write great content.
Believe in your abilities. Believe in your gifts and talents, whatever they may be. It goes hand and hand with your success.
“Ability to implement required skills and behaviors.”
“Reinforcement includes any action or event that strengthens and reinforces the change with an individual or an organization.”
One of the main factors contributing to the effectiveness of reinforcement is an accountability system to reinforce the change.
Now that I am out of my funk, it is my responsibility to hold myself accountable. This consists of:
Sticking to a writing routine
Staying up to date and knowledgeable above various topics
Feeding my mind with the right information: books, podcasts, etc.
Taking moments to remember why I started writing, why I love it, and the impact it has on myself and others.
For any change, accountability for continued performance and consistency is one of the strongest forms of reinforcement. For some like myself, they can hold themselves accountable for addressing the change. For other individuals, they may need a friend or partner to help them in this accountability phase. And that is okay; I have even sought out others to help hold me accountable for some things.
Seeking out help shows vulnerability and strength.
The reinforcement of accountability will create a history that individuals remember when the next change occurs.
This chapter showed me how powerful holding oneself accountable can be. We can do anything we put our minds to. I refused to stay where I was and decided to make the appropriate changes to get back to not just my normal self but a more improved human being and writer. If used correctly, I believe the ADKAR model can help anyone seeking change in their lives. All of these steps may not be perfect for everyone.
Feel free to remix it or add your spice to it. Just commit to the change.
“Reinforcement to sustain the change.”
Whatever you do, embrace the change. Great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. It takes bravery, courage, and faith to desire and implement change in your life.
I hope you embrace the challenge.