I ran a 30-day writing challenge for my meetup group recently that was a lot of fun. Although my goal was to write daily, I missed one or two days a week. I was still able to double my writing output however, so I wanted to keep going. Without the prop of the challenge, I needed to create some additional structure. The hardest part of writing is just starting, so I wrote this memo to remind myself of all the “props” I can use for writing easily and consistently. What helps you kickstart your writing day?
Memo to self: Do my daily write!
It’s 8 am, time for my daily writing session. As is often the case, my mind is not really cranking yet. Fortunately, I have a system for getting started, consisting of several tools and methods that rev up my writing engine on command. Here is what I find:
1. An organized file system where ideas are just a touch or click away, in a folder on my desk with articles I’ve saved and printouts of notes and checklists; a computer file where I save ideas when I’m reading online; and an app on my phone to capture ideas that come to me during the day.
2. My journal where I do longhand freewriting to get my brain going every day. Reading some paragraphs I’ve already written, in the style that my thoughts usually flow, is a surefire way to get into my writing groove.
3. My favorite background music on my computer or music player to create the perfect ambiance while I’m writing.
4. My bulletin board above my desk that has positive affirmations, mottos, and pictures of things that inspire me and make me smile.
5. Templates on my computer that have headings for the structure of various forms of writing, like blog posts, chapters, articles and essays. My favorite fonts and styles are saved in the templates with keyboard shortcuts. Even if the writing will eventually be digital, I know that I benefit from writing with visible formatting.
6. My calendar that shows I’ve been writing every day this week so far. I can’t break the chain. I must write or edit at least two pages. I have a minimum unit of writing, but I can always keep going.
7. A timer already set to how long I do my average writing session, which is 45 minutes. After I finish the session, I can reward myself with a quick break, a short walk or a cup of tea.
8. Although I keep a flexible schedule, I still have two alerts on my phone to remind me to do my daily writing sessions. I put aside all distractions and open my notebook or laptop when I hear the alerts go off.
9. Lastly, my bedtime is 10 pm, so I can be up by 6, dressed, exercised, and ready to start freewriting at 8 am to plan my writing day. I know that with this daily writing plan in place, tomorrow’s writing will begin with ease and generate consistent results day after day.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Check out my book on kindle, Write for Success: 7 Ways Writing Can Help You Be More Successful in Your Work and Life.