Years ago, I saw an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he talked about how he had to find joy in whatever he did, otherwise he wouldn’t do it. Something about that clicked with me, and I’ve carried it with me wherever ever since. Now, taking life advice from The Terminator might seem odd, but when you consider how a guy who immigrated from Austria with a couple bucks in his pocket wound up excelling in three separate careers (bodybuilding, acting, and politics) in his lifetime, it starts making a lot more sense.

I’ve been using that moment from Arnold to connect dots in my life and work. Where is the joy in what I’m doing? Is there a way I can find joy in the middle of the hard work that goes into any pursuit? If not, should I be doing it or is the joy a little further down the line waiting for me?

Shifting my routine around a bit has brought back a bit of joy for me. I start my day with a work out, shower, and grab some coffee. The first thing I do after turning on my computer is to open Fade In and work on getting a page done.

That spot had previously been occupied by a blog entry, but I’ve found that the pure joy of writing something I don’t have to show to anyone (not to be confused with the millions of people who surely view this blog… Did the sarcasm come through? I hope so) is a better way to start my day.

I’ve been on this plan for a week and it’s been teaching me something each day. Yesterday was a mess because I got a late start. I almost skipped getting my page in, but having a box that needed an X in it was enough to nudge me in the right direction. And if I’m going to do that, why not also get my blog post in, even if it’s late? And hey, if I’m doing all that, I might as well get my workout in late as well.

Sometimes, all it takes is getting things in the right order to make it that much more likely that you’ll do them.

Please note that I’m not affiliated with Fade In, but I have been using it for screenwriting the last couple years and would wholeheartedly recommend it.