I have recently started working four days a week to write one day. To make it work I have created a few structural strategies and some mental ones.
“If you do not fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you, your day will fill up with low priority distractions…” Dr. Demartini
My Structural Strategies:
- Wednesday Writing Day — it was not only good for the company I work for, as my busiest days are Monday and Friday; it is to signal my mind that my day off the job is still a Working Day.
- A day for Writing — it is NOT for laundry, for cleaning, buying groceries or lazying on the beach. I can go to the beach, for lunch-and-back, or to write there, or to plot about something I’m writing, but meaningful work has to be achieved.
- Journaling — a list of writing-related tasks completed — that serves as an antidote to poisonous thoughts and create the proof that I have and am doing enough.
- Physical Writing Space — a great writing space with a desk that allows for standing or seating, with a beautiful, large monitor and a super cute typewriter (just in case the world ends and the computers stop working, if that happens I can keep writing!).
- No shoes, no bra — I wake up and make my bed, dress comfortably but in clothes that mean business, make my coffee and setup my computer at my workspace. I do make allowances though, unless I’m going out, no shoes, no bra are allowed.
My Mental Strategies:
- Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries — nothing is permitted to invade my sacred space, not my shit, not anyone else’s.
- No limits — I refrain from any commitments on this day, even lunchtime, early mornings or evenings, I never know when creativity will flow best, so I reserve the full day to allow for it to catch me at any time of the day.
- Clear and achievable goals — keeping them visible and constantly in mind; focusing on them as primary objectives.
- Flexible discipline — with a strong commitment to the process. I work first in my primary objectives, if it that isn’t flowing, I do anything related to the writing process: it might be creating ideas, researching characters, taking notes, writing about the process, keeping the admin tasks of the job in check. All work is valid, even napping while considering a narrative plot.
- Break the resistance — try first, what you most want to achieve, start, put effort, if it flows, you just keep going; if not, do some other useful task; if the flow doesn’t come, it wasn’t resistance, it just wasn’t the best moment to write that part. (Based on Seth Godin’s ideas on “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?”
- Allow for changes in environment — make writing and researching excursions; change the writing location when the house is not the right mental space.
- What takes me closer to my mission? — is the question that saves my sanity every time, whenever I am indecisive about something. Make choices, any choices are better than none, any word count is better than nothing, any writing related activity is valid.
- Reward good work.
Lastly I keep reminding myself that there are no rights and wrongs in my writing days, there is only what takes me closer to my mission at that moment!