Today’s writing prompt is more on track and should be a good one. You can always let me know what you think in the comment section, if you disagree!
For March 28th, I want to cover a new little lesson, but since it is still the weekend and tomorrow is a long work day for a lot of us, I will keep it short.
Before I go on, though, I want to remind you that as it is Sunday, there is another blog post on the main side of the blog. This post covers 8 writing “rules” and my personal opinions on them. Give it a read and see what you think about my take on the classic rules of literature.
Now, back to the prompt
Today’s lesson should get you thinking about taking action.
There are very few of us that write novels or screenplays for a living. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, being an author no longer pays all the bills. Unless you are a highly successful writer with multiple books on best seller lists that don’t come from Amazon, you most likely have a day job.
It can be hard to stay motivated. You work all day (or night) and then take care of chores and errands and possibly the family. By the time you have your free time it’s either work on your novels or sacrifice your sleep or social time.
There are many things that get in the way of writing. There are many methods to try and overcome those obstacles. At the end of the day, though, it is your own drive and desire that make it happen.
Are you too tired? Writing sleepy is better than not writing at all. Are you out of time and have to go out to see friends? A cancellation once in a while may not be the worst thing.
As an aside, if you do struggle with being organized and staying productive, I have an eBook that may help you out. Inside you will find a story about how I overcame some huge obstacles, and the changes I made to be a better writer with more time and attention to the craft. Check it out!
Today’s writing prompt is a little task that will get you motivated to write more frequently. It is less about actually writing and more about preparing for writing. Let’s take a look.
Create at least 3 to-do lists outlining the coming week. Write down everything you have to do, and include at least 1 hour of writing for each day.
This little task is something I do every Sunday. It helps a lot and I will explain why, now.
First, you get to see visible progress of your task completion. Like any to-do list, when something is done, you cross it off.
However, you have three lists, so you get to cross things off 3 times! It is a great feeling, and the multiple crossing-offs gives you a much needed extra push to keep going.
Now, you will notice I have you making three lists (you can make more). What you want to avoid is making them in the same place.
I use a spiral notebook on my writing desk as the primary list. I also write each day’s tasks on my wall calendar. Plus, I use a dry erase marker and write my lists on a mirror.
Now, when I finish a task (like this blog post), I cross it off my notebook. Then I get up and use a marker to cross it off the daily square of the calendar. Finally, I walk to the bedroom and erase the line from the mirror in there.
I am sure there are scientific reasons for the feeling this creates, but I’m just going to say…it feels great.
As the lists get smaller, you get more excited. And, as you near the end, or finish an entire day, you feel accomplished. You actually did something. Even if it was small and near meaningless, the feeling of accomplishment is inside.
How does that make a better writer?
What this task does is help you see that you can accomplish a lot in a single day and a ton of things in a whole week. And as long as you don’t try to over-do it, your lists become small bite-sized to-dos that are easily accomplished.
You will notice, though, that you start to skip around. Maybe you just finished the dishes, so as you cross it off you can choose between doing laundry next, or walking the dog. You don’t have to go in order and sometimes finishing a large task like completing 4 loads of laundry, needs to be followed by an easy task, like walking the dog.
And while it may take you a couple of hours to cross of the laundry, you quickly repeat the erasure when you get back in with the puppy. You start looking for the next thing to do, instead of avoiding it. You begin to need to cross things off. So you get your shit done faster.
And lo and behold, eventually all that is left is writing. And it may not happen the first week, or the second, But eventually that choosing between writing and sleeping is gone. Because you got everything else done so fast, you now have 3 hours before bed time instead of 20 minutes.
So go give it a try. Three lists, three chances to cross things off. Notice how it makes you feel. Find out how much free time it gives you at the end. Then use that time to write. You can come back and thank me in the comment section later.