The #AtoZChallenge 2017 Theme at Operation Awesome is the Publishing Journey.
Today's topic is how to Own Your Next Writing Session.
What do all of your most productive writing sessions have in common? What methods are guaranteed to get you to produce a high word count every time?
If you don’t know the answers to those two questions, then your writing sessions are owning you rather than you owning them. You’re at the mercy of the muse, of the moment, of the lightning that might strike. Today’s post is about taking ownership.
The first step is to establish a writing space. If you can give yourself a space that isn’t the same one used for stressful tasks (bill paying) or stress-relieving tasks (gaming), all the better. But if you can’t, you might be able to trick your mind into thinking you have. In your writing space (dedicated space or not), set out a scent-producing object. Candles are a popular choice, but a perfumed blanket could work just as well. The point is to pick a scent that you like, but that you only intend to smell during your writing time. Move on to the next sense. Pick a candy to suck on. You only get to eat that candy when you sit down to write. That flavor in your mouth is a signal that it’s writing time. Pick a sound. It can be one you listen to the whole time or just a gong that signals the start of a writing session. An unusual texture, perhaps, something that you touch only when it’s time to start writing. Have a writing motivation picture up. When you look at it, it’s writing time, and this space is for writing. The more senses you involve, the more the brain will get on board.
The next step is to have a mantra, or a mission statement. A short statement, Tweet length perhaps, to remind yourself why you’re doing this. Why are you writing? This is your time, and you’re going to use it to write, so you should know why you aren’t using it to practice your golf swing, feed the homeless, or beat the next level on a videogame. These words are just for you. No guilt, no judgment. The purpose is to remind yourself that there is a reason you’re sitting down to write. Every time you start a writing session, rewrite your statement while speaking it out loud. Feel the pen moving on the paper, or your fingers pressing on each key. Let yourself experience writing those words. Let your ears hear the words. Focus on it, feel the reason being important, picture it mattering and making a difference in your world. Then start writing.
Reward yourself after you’ve completed the writing session. Put a sticker on a calendar. Sing your favorite song. High five yourself in the mirror (carefully). This isn’t permission to spend a pile of money. This is just acknowledging that you’ve done something and should be proud of yourself for that achievement.
Taking ownership is also about respecting your writing time. It is the same kind of time respect you expect a doctor to give a patient, a teacher to give a classroom, or a chef to give to making a meal. If a chef stops in the middle of cooking to play a game, the food will burn. A teacher shouldn’t stop in the middle of class to use Facebook. A doctor shouldn’t blow off giving medical care to Netflix and chill.
Many people swear by setting a writing time. Every day from X o’clock to Y o’clock, they write. Some people just need to know they will dedicate a certain amount of time, and make it a priority. This is similar to how most of the workforce manages work time. Either you have to be at your job at certain set hours, or you have the kind of job where you can pick the hours so long as the work is done on time. Writing is a job. It might be your primary job, it might be your second job, it might even be your third, fourth, or fifth job. But it’s still a job, it is still work, and it deserves recognition as such. So figure out if you’re an employee that needs set hours or an employee that just needs a deadline, and then assign your writing tasks accordingly.
How do you own your writing sessions?