Tuesday, June 28, 2016

No Sabotage Ten

Ten Ways Not to Sabotage Your Writing Time

Calm: The best mood to be in when you do any work is calm and focused, so get yourself to that state before you begin work. I do this daily with morning meditations, and I also have a mental ritual I do before every writing session to dispense with distracting feelings. Think of it as clocking in to your writing job.

Check Weather: If you live in an area like I do with unruly weather, check the daily forecast. I use Weather.com to look at the radar map and see if there's any time I might have to stop writing due to thunderstorms.

Clear Out the Cobwebs: If you're thinking about something else while you're writing, you're fighting a mental war on two fronts. End the battle by clearing your mind of everything except what serves your story. I do this by journaling, so I can get all those other, non-writing thoughts out of my head before I begin work.

Comfortable Outfit: I am amazed at all these writers who say they work in three-piece suits, full make-up, etc. If that works for you okay, but personally I work better when I'm dressed comfortably. My standard writing uniform is a large T-shirt, leggings, and soft socks. I put my hair up to keep it out of my face. Occasionally I wear some of my old scrubs, too.

Electronics Off: If you can't stay off your smart phone, shut it off and put it out of reach. Same goes for the television, stereo, e-book reader, video games and any other distracting electronic device. This is your work time; use only the computer on which you're writing (exception: if listening to music helps you write better, turn on the stereo -- but try to keep it low.) Also, stay off the internet.

Goal Set: Have a clear idea of your writing goal for the day. You can go with a wordcount or number of pages. Time also works -- such as committing to writing for two hours (and take breaks!)

Healthy Snack: Working while you're hungry can be distracting and make you cranky, so have a light, healthy snack. A banana or an apple always does the trick for me.

Hydrate: One of the healthy habits I've gotten into is drinking a glass of water before I start writing. There are two reasons for this -- it keeps me from wanting to make some hot tea while I write (making it is the distraction), and it forces me to get up and take a bathroom break after about an hour.

Physical Therapy: Limbering up before you sit down at the computer can make you feel better, increase blood flow and help your overall health. I do my stretches, which are simplified yoga moves, for a few minutes before I begin writing. I also do stretches on my writing breaks. For those of you who are in better shape, here's a ten minute workout for desk workers.

Save Everything: Before you start writing, back up your previous work on a memory stick or other autonomous spot. Also make a mental note to continue to save your work at the bottom of every new page you write. It's a good habit to get into, and if anything goes wrong during your writing session, you won't lose anything.


  1. Good tips. I love to be distracted :)

  2. Thank you for these tips, and your week's series on your journalling. I always enjoy your posts on your creative and work process. They are very helpful and inspiring.

  3. Awesome post. I'm always interested in the different ways we all get our work done. And always looking for new ways to improve. Thanks!

    OMG, yes, save everything. Constantly. Use the autosave function in your writing program, but don't depend on it.