It’s the biggest challenge we face: opening the notebook or computer document and getting started. There are a hundred different demands and responsibilities vying for our attention and so often our writing ‘has to wait’. But the longer it’s neglected, the more our essential creative nature withers. How can you help yourself get to the work? Try these three simple suggestions:
Be Accountable ~ To yourself or someone else. Schedule a writing session in your calendar and show up for yourself. The commitment suggested by penning it in your calendar tells your brain that you’re taking your efforts seriously by devoting real time—by way of recorded or documented time—to your writing. If you break such appointments with yourself too easily, schedule a session with another writer. You can meet in person at a café or you can agree to meet online. Check in by email, say ‘ready, set, go’ and write for the same amount of time. Check in again after. This form of healthy peer pressure can really stimulate productivity.
Serve up a Diet Portion ~ Tell yourself you only have to sit down and write for fifteen minutes. Take the minutes seriously by turning off wifi and silencing your phone. No distractions! It’s only fifteen minutes after all. Once you get started, you’ll find it hard to stop at fifteen and will likely write for thirty minutes or longer. But you don’t have to. Even fifteen minutes almost every day will lead to real, accomplished work. Over time, this diet portion of writing will add weight to your writing.
Remember the Love ~ The work is so often hard, frustrating, thankless, and results can be a long time coming, but somewhere deep inside… you love this. It means a lot to you. You care about making things. Honor this part of you when you sit down to write. Say to yourself, “No matter what else I have to deal with around my writing, the deep core of my process is made of love.” Ray Bradbury said: “…if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, you are only half a writer.” Invite your loving self to sit down with you when your work.