Thursday, September 22, 2011

Scheduling writing... just another habit

Do you schedule your writing? Do you get your writing done or like 90% of "writers" do you stories stay in your head, materializing between waking and sleeping only to dissolve when your eyes open in the morning - that great idea becoming a distant and increasingly fuzzy dream.

Suggestions for creating a daily habit.

1) Keep a notebook by the side of your bed. I started doing this as a child and although the light flipping on and off may cause grumblings from the other side of one's bed, that scathingly brilliant idea remains in black on white when you open your eyes to dawn's early light.

2) Do you keep a morning journal? Perhaps one in the evening? A pocket/purse notebook that can be accessed easily to jot down ideas, inspirations, a new word, a single line from an overheard conversation that set your creative juices flowing. A quote by Mark Twain comes to mind - “The dullest pencil is better than the sharpest memory.”

3) How about timed writings? I set and recommend 20 minutes daily but sometimes I've only time for ten. Ten minutes of writing is 100% more than just thinking about writing.

4) Set up a file folder on your desk top (I've got three currently covering three genres) and then rotate between manuscripts as the mood fits. I get bored easily, love variety, and working hard. I love lists and ticking off the things I have to do. I get depressed when "I" don't make it onto the list of things that need to be done in a given day. As wife, mother, geriatric caregiver, business owner, project manager, CFO, mentor, researcher, editor, and friend (to name a few hats), my writing is often relegated to the back seat.

I now understand why Jane Austen was so prolific - she had no modern conveniences, children, or ran multiple businesses. But the reality is that we all live in today's world and face today's challenges. We have to decide what we will do with the 24 hours granted to us each day.

If we carve out ten minutes before getting out of bed in the morning, write while eating a sandwich at lunch, take a break or leave your journal on top of the magazines in the loo, jot down ideas in a waiting room, commuting (do not write or text if you are driving), or perhaps scribble a few notes the last thing before lights out, you will have accomplished 3650 minutes of writing in the course of a year. That's 53 hours of writing!

The best part is that over time, the idea of writing joins the ranks of brushing one's teeth and eating. It becomes second nature. It becomes a habit, an old friend, something that you just do and when done regularly, you begin to fill your own emotional well, become a happier person, and ultimately accomplish what you've only dreamed of for years.

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