You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit

Tom’s cat. No, it’s not a tomcat.
Editor Tom asks how we manage to start writing projects without bedeviling ourselves.

Short version: make it a habit.

Slightly longer version: make it the right habit.

Full version:

After 18 months of experimentation (following 18 years of dabbling) I’ve made writing my habit. It’s part of my daily routine.

Every morning, Best Beloved and I have our tea and a chat. Then, I go downstairs and write one scene (+/- 1,000 words is where mine seem to fall.)

… more … “You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit”

Where’s the Order, Where the Habit?

My unconscious is apparently toying with me. Write a post Monday about being orderly and habitual to reserve mental and emotional energy for art, and then don’t write posts the next two days.

This comes, perhaps, from not having specific goals, either targets to aim for or purposes for the actions. “I should write a post every day” isn’t meaningful. “Engaging with readers regularly builds loyalty” is a bit better.

running the maze

This year, my goal has been to write more mysteries. Our 3 businesses, Spinhead Web Design, Someday Box, and Chief Virtual Officer, are all doing what they do without much input or marketing effort from me.

After writing a 60,000-word mystery, one chapter a day, over at my personal blog, I may not post much there until there’s a specific reason. … more … “Where’s the Order, Where the Habit?”

How an Orderly Life Benefits Your Art

rock paper scissorsYou’ve seen the common perception of “artists” — disorganized, flighty, not always entirely in touch with reality. Mess and disorder, partying ’til all hours and sleeping in, drink and drugs and bad behavior of all kinds. Artists aren’t expected to behave like “normal” people because, y’know, they’re artists.

Truth is the more habits you institute in your life the better it is for your art. Here’s why.

Using Up Willpower

Exercise strengthens muscles. It also strengthens willpower.

Muscles get tired and have to rest.

So does willpower.

… more … “How an Orderly Life Benefits Your Art”

After the Storm There’s No Time to Relax

To stretch that anchor/storm metaphor:

After the storm has passed the crew can’t take a break. First order is damage assessment and vital repairs.

Once the fires are put out, literally or metaphorically, the ship still needs sailing. A myriad little things need tidying up.

If the crew takes it easy after the storm they condemn their ship.

… more … “After the Storm There’s No Time to Relax”

Forge Ahead Unfettered

After 3 days with no posts you’re probable wondering where I am.

I am in New Mexico. Tucumcari, to be exact. Fascinating as that must be for you, the story behind it is a lesson in how balance and moving forward go hand in hand.

We knew when we moved in a year ago that the house we rented was for sale. After 3 years on the market (in a seriously “buyer’s” market) we weren’t concerned, especially as seasoned nomads.

Last Wednesday we got the message that the house sold and the new owners wanted to move in April 1st. While the landlord is only required to give 28 days notice ours made a special effort and gave us 35.

The challenge was that we were leaving on this Arizona/California trip 5 days later, and won’t be back until after the final date. … more … “Forge Ahead Unfettered”

Writing in Public: A Silkworm Instead of a Parachute

happy landings!A guitarist I once knew said he had a friend who wanted a band to play at his anniversary party.

I said “Take the gig, and we’ll put a band together.”

He blinked a couple times and said “I find your level of confidence disturbing.”

Since I grew up (at the age of 43) I’ve often leapt from airplanes with a silkworm instead of a parachute. It lends immediacy to the task.

I chickened out just a little and didn’t tell you about this until I was 11,000 words in, but I’m writing another light mystery, a 1,000-word chapter at a time, over on my personal blog. It’s called A Long Hard Look.

I have an idea where the story will go, just as when you leap from an airplane you’re fairly certain of your destination.

Getting there in one piece, though, is not a foregone conclusion.

Art is Love: The More You Give Away the More You Have

bucket at the wellSince I’ve started a daily routine of writing come what may, I’ve noticed something.

The more ideas I spit out, the more I have.

In the past week, I’ve written 1,000 words a day on the sequel to Through the Fog. Another story forced its way into my head, and I’ve managed 1,000 words a day on that one as well.

The past few Februaries I haven’t participated in February Album Writing Month. But this year I’ve had so man song ideas I can’t bottle them up. Four written and recorded with another well on the way. Since I spend the 3rd week of every 3rd month writing 3 songs with my buddy Terry, I’ll be doing that whether I push for 14 songs at FAWM or not.

The well doesn’t run dry, it refills itself. The more art I create, the more wells up to be created.

You Need a Writing Habit

Hey, before we start, I don’t want you to miss this opportunity because today, Friday January 31st 2014 is the last day to register free for Publishing Bones, a support site for writers. Go register at http://publishingbones.com/free-registration.


Willpower will not keep you writing. The most powerful tool to keep you writing when writing gets hard is a habit.

A writing habit is the single most important thing you can do for your writing.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/673861 by Maria Luisa Gutierrez  http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cornnius
habits: they’re where it’s at
Habit.

Not schedule.

Not support.

Not tools.

Not free time.

Not passion.

Not a contract.

Habit.

Here are the best books I know which explain why, and tell you how to create habits. … more … “You Need a Writing Habit”

You Are What You Measure

Reading Callie’s thoughts at Steven Pressfield’s blog a while back raised some marketing questions in my head.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1261292 by Miguel Saavedra http://www.sxc.hu/profile/saavemWhich are you more interested in:

  • number of books sold or number of new fans?
  • number of words written or percentage of days you write something rather than nothing?
  • page views for your blog, or posts you’re proud of?

It’s good business to keep track of statistics.

It’s human nature to pay more attention to what’s easy to count instead of what’s hard to count.

It’s not always obvious that what matters to your business (you know, selling books as your own publisher?) is hard to count.

… more … “You Are What You Measure”

Lost Days, Lost Time; Or, You Can’t Fill a Black Hole

I have struggled with depression my whole life. During the past 10 years it has improved immensely, especially the past few. I now consider myself a happy person, a content person. The black days which used to be the norm are now rare.

But they’re not gone.

… more … “Lost Days, Lost Time; Or, You Can’t Fill a Black Hole”