Sunday, November 18, 2007

Your writing island

Put your butt in the chair. That's the most popular mantra in the writing community. After all, you can't shop a manuscript you haven't written. Whether you're pre-published, newly published or multi-published, writing is a job and demands the same commitment and discipline as more traditional careers.

But when it comes time to put your butt in the chair, inevitably every chore in your life screams for attention. Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cleaning. If you succumb to those screams, any pages you'd planned to write gets washed away with the laundry.

The only way to ward off these conflicts of your writing interest is to create a writing island. A time and space devoted to your writing. Pick an hour - any hour - and commit to not letting anything or anyone distract you at that time. Start the laundry before your writing island hour. You can finish the laundry - and do the dishes - once your hour is over.

Imagine going to your writing island during your lunch hour. Take 20 minutes or so to eat lunch while working at your desk. Then, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., find someplace where co-workers won't be tempted to interrupt so you can write. Or, in the evening, tape the show you just can't miss and write instead. You can stay up late Friday or watch it Saturday morning.

Stick to your schedule. Over a couple of weeks, your actions will become a habit. Over a couple of months, your habit will become a way of life.



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