Writing is hard…
Anything is hard if you’re not used to it. Getting used to something is all about making it into a habit.
We all have 24 hours in a day and it’s up to us to decide how we use that time.
When you work for yourself, there’s no-one there to do the organising for you, the buck stops with you.
It’s up to you to practice healthy habits and rituals in your business week to get stuff done!
If “Start Blogging” is on your To Do list, the chances are, the reason it’s not happening is that you just haven’t found the time for it.
Reality check: “I don’t have time” is the excuse we use for EVERYTHING!
Everything that is not a priority for us, anyway. We all have busy lives, I’m afraid you are not special in that regard (sorry)!
Don’t let yourself off the hook so easily!
Make it a priority then make the time.
Get your diary out, right now (go on, do it) and plan in at least one hour-long slot a week for writing time, from this week onwards…
Now you have the time in your diary, here’s what to do with it…
4 Steps to Start a Writing Habit:
1) Create the right environment
Find somewhere sensible to work. In the middle of a room full of noisy children is not it!
Experiment with locations.
You need somewhere warm enough, comfortable, quiet(ish) and with the right resources.
For me, those resources are my laptop, and a plug to charge it from (just in case). Depending on what I’m writing, I can manage without Wifi (I can always draft blogs in Word) – and a good cup of coffee.
Either that, or a sunny spot, the right notebooks and a pencil case with a selection of pencils and pens (and a good coffee).
I like to work from coffee shops. But sometimes I feel like I can’t stay there for more than a couple of hours without outstaying my welcome, so a hotel lobby is a good option for a longer term writing camp/writing retreat.
2) Experiment with typing or writing
I often find, physically writing enhances my creativity. There’s something about feeling the pen scratching on the page and seeing the spidery trails of ink form into words.
Notebooks are also location independent. You can write anywhere – in the garden in the park, on a beach…
(I have to confess, I do have a stationery habit, so I am a little biased!)
Books never run out of battery – although pens do run out of ink, so make sure you have plenty of spares!
Once you’ve handwritten something you can quickly transcribe it to the computer by dictating it.
If you write directly to your screen, use a proper keyboard! And, don’t allow yourself to be distracted.
Get into the habit of shutting your email so it doesn’t bleep at you and avoid the time suck that is Social Media!
Sometimes it’s better to work without Wifi so you are not tempted to procrastinate online. If you need to do research, make a note of what you need to find out and do it later, then keep writing something else.
3) Allow time
Don’t overcrowd your diary. If you have only allowed an hour then booked in something else immediately after, you may regret that if you get into a flow. You can write in shorter chunks than an hour, and sometimes this can focus the mind and as a regular habit can be positive, but personally, I like to have some flexibility in my diary.
4) Show up with a positive attitude
If you show up telling yourself you ‘hate writing’, ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you’ve got nothing to say’ etc. etc. you’d rarely disappoint yourself.
Plan the time, then learn to look forward to it.
Tell yourself that this is your time to think, create, express yourself, say what’s on your mind and get things out of your system. No-one needs to see your writing until you are ready to show them. That’s what passwords are for!
Don’t put pressure on yourself to write brilliantly either, the first draft of anything is supposed to be crap.
The point is to get the ideas out of your head and tell the story to yourself at first, then work on it later.
Some days, the words will flow, some days they won’t. That’s OK. The important thing is not to let the fear of the words not flowing stopping you from doing it. If you really can’t write in your writing time, do writing-related activities instead – like: plan your writing. Capture ideas. Take a walk and have some ‘thinking time’, it all adds up.
Do this, regularly, consistently, several times a week and it will become a habit.
And if you need someone to hold you accountable, shout!
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