I’ve noticed a few similarities between exercise and writing. A lot of people talk about writing a book (or exercising) but most never start; a common excuse given for not writing (or exercising) is that there’s not enough time; and a large percentage of the people who start their book (or their exercise plan) soon quit. Since I’ve written about making the most of your gym membership (or exercise equipment) I thought I’d apply the same strategies to your writing goals.
Make your spot a destination
Whether it’s for your exercise equipment or your writing desk, make the surrounding environment welcoming, supportive and motivating. Some paint, better lighting, and a few inspirational decorations can make your area a destination that draws you in and gets you started. A dark and dingy corner can suck the energy out of you before you even begin, so ensure that your space is pleasant and enjoyable while you’re exercising those writing muscles. Make your spot a destination you want to use.
Define success through smaller goals
Success isn’t just running a marathon or seeing your book in print. Success also includes the challenges that you overcome and the strength you develop along the way. And, just like training for a marathon, you need to break your writing down into manageable chunks. Don’t set your expectations of what a writing session is supposed to be so high that you don’t bother to try. Think of what you could write in that 15-minute block of time you have. Consider shooting for another 100 words on your manuscript instead of skipping the writing altogether. Consistently reaching for the smaller goals will get you to the publish line sooner than you think.
Schedule it first
It’s too easy for some of us to “do it later,” but later never comes. You need to add your writing time to your calendar before other appointments fill up the days, weeks, and months ahead. Consider writing first thing in the morning. Mornings are the best time to write, because regardless of how your day progresses afterwards, you can still feel good that you got your writing done for the day.
The second best time to write is any time that you can do it consistently. Don’t wait for the muse to hit before you sit down to write. Establish a consistent writing time regardless of your mood. Your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard (or pen in hand) is what is important. Schedule what’s important to you first.
Grab a buddy
Having an exercise buddy can motivate you to get out the door for that walk or make it to that yoga class on time. The same is true for a writing buddy or support group. Having someone to support and encourage you can make the difference between giving up and writing on. Like-minded souls who understand the journey you face can celebrate your wins and pick you up when you stumble. If you’re looking for a supportive group, check out NaNoWriMo in November (NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month – and it’s not just for novel writers). I also recommend the Facebook group, Authority Self-Publishing.
Plan for mobility
You should always keep a pair of walking shoes in the car just in case you get an opportunity to get some steps in and you should set up your writing for mobility as well. I recommend using Dropbox to keep your writing files in the cloud and accessible anywhere. Box and Google Drive are also excellent options.
Use Evernote to collect ideas, research, and more when you’re at your desk or out-and-about. Apps are available on iOS and Android, as well as Windows and Mac. Grab the plug-ins for your web browsers so that you can clip articles, screenshots or the full page from your internet searches.
Though Scrivener (a writer’s word processor and project management tool wrapped up in one extremely useful software package) isn’t available for iPads or iPhones yet, they are working on it. For now, it’s only available for your PC or Mac (or both), but with three simple clicks you can export your manuscript into a pdf, doc, epub (common ebook format), or mobi (Kindle format) file and you’re on your way. As a writer, you’ll want to plan for your mobility since you never know when inspiration will hit.
Shawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD, is a personal trainer for your productivity, and a mentor for your goals. She is a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD) and a motivational force for your creativity. For more information...