(if you look carefully under the flowers, you will see a small Mason jar of Jelly Bellies & two pieces of chocolate - the good life!)
It's September 1st.
My daughter is back at school. My husband is at the gym. My dog has been walked. Our guinea pigs have been fed. Our cats have been adored. And I am in my writing shed beginning to write again.
Here are a few techniques I do to help me focus time to writing.
1) First, I mark off the hours I plan to write on your calendar. I view this as *my job* and not a tentative plan, but a commitment I make to myself. I schedule the rest of my life around my writing time.
2) I know some people say not to check email until noon or not at all on a writing day because you might get sidetracked, that doesn't work for me. I always feel there's something lurking in my inbox and unless I check to make sure there isn't a "If I don't hear from you by today, the Pulitzer Prize will go to the second runner up email..." I don't feel as if I can work without my head fully in my work. It will keep wondering, What's behind door #3?
So I check email first thing when I'm having my breakfast. I read my email and delete as many as I can. I do this on my iPhone because it is ridiculously fast and with my sausage fingers, I cannot type out long ramblings emails, I have to, well, get to the point.
2) With the satisfaction of knowing nothing exciting or important came into my life via email while I slept, I shower, get my daughter to school & walk my dog, Buddy Holly. Exercise and being outdoors is a great way to get your brain going as well as help center you. And I also get great ideas in the shower.
3) With the morning details to my life done, I get a HUGE cup of coffee, grab my laptop and wander into my writing shed. I get 20 minutes to write a blog post if I choose, or I get straight to work. No more checking email until lunch or later. No going onto Facebook, Poetry Daily, or any place that might waste time.
The night before a scheduled writing time, I figure out what I'm going to work on. Today is my non-fiction book about going to Hedgebrook for a week last year and the difficulty in balancing my writing life as well as my traumatic return from this residency into real life.
I think the main thing is to tell yourself (myself), you must be writing by ________ am/pm (fill in the writing time here) and commit to that and be accountable for it.
There are no excuses not to write.
Yes, we may have times when it's harder, but we choose what we do with our time. I have chosen poorly in the past. I have sat on a couch and watched Contact for the umpteenth time instead of using those hours to create. I have said yes to doing things with people that don't nurture the writer in me.
So today, I begin. Trying my best to keep distraction away, turning on Everything but the Girl, and opening my document entitled Seven Days and beginning where I left off 3 months ago.
Every day is beginning. A new opportunity to create.
It feels really good to be back in my shed (though seriously, I need a better name for this place!) and back to a more scheduled routine. Writing.
Please join me. In your own writing spot, please write something to kick off September. Anything. I'll be writing too.
And it will feel good.