We're back for what has been one of my favorite posts to write in this series - establishing A Writer's Habits. How did exercise one go last week? Were you able to determine what "it" you needed to turn-off? It probably will take you more than a week to flush out what stands between you and your writing, but I encourage you to push forward. Today's exercise will build upon what we learned last week and may even provide clarity on the "it" that stands in your way of writing.
Upon returning home from our Spanish Adventure, we quickly embarked on a cross country summer schedule. Starting with a trip to Michigan, settling into six mid-summer weeks in the Orlando area, and finishing July out in Minnesota, before finally returning to our home in Wisconsin. Needless to say, the writing revelations that were had in Spain were almost immediately complicated by our transient summer schedule. I knew from my experience in Spain that I desired to make writing a regular component in my week. I just didn't know how to make that happen with work, family, church, and community commitments.
It was somewhere, likely along a freeway in the middle of America, that I made the decision to 'get serious' about my writing. If I truly desired to replicate the writing experience from Spain then I had to make some changes in my life back home. That's where today's exercise begins.
So what does it mean for you and me to 'get serious' about our writing?
Getting serious about our writing means we are ready to put the effort forth required to grow as a writer. We're ready to rearrange our priorities because writing has become a priority.
// When you will write? - Do you write best in the mornings before the thoughts, tasks, emails, and voices of the day are drowning out your creative abilities? Or are you more of a night owl - preferring to finish your day unwinding in your writing. There are only 24-hours in a day, if you're serious about writing you'll make a concerted effort to make it happen regularly if not daily in your schedule. For myself, my writing comes most easily in the morning hours before noon, but if I'm honest with you I've been writing this entire series in the evening hours between 7-9pm. At the moment my mornings have not been available for writing, but regardless I've scheduled time in my week for writing. Writing is a priority in my week, one of a handful that I will not sacrifice (ex: time in the Word, making clean eats for our family, spending quality time with my husband and contributing to The Influence Network) and because I've established it as a priority, it happens regardless of the special events that pop up each week. So the question you need to ask yourself is, "When will I write?"
// Where will you write? - So you've established when you will write, but to further build upon your habit, where will you write? Where's the one or two places where you will sit down, distraction free, and your mind will automatically acknowledge that you're there to write? For myself, I have two places I write. One is in the living room of my home. This is usually my preferred writing location when writing in the evenings. At the end of a busy day I want to unwind and recharge, I do that via writing and spending time near/with my husband. Since he's often in the living room during our evenings, that's where I want to be. My second writing place is the coffee shop (almost) in the backyard of our home. It's a local shop, with tables that seat only 1-2 persons, the staff know your name, and the music is minimal, the chatter almost non-existent. Not to mention the windows are expansive, perfect for people watching and taking in the natural light. I spend every Friday morning I can writing in this space. So the 2nd question you need to ask yourself is, "Where will I write?"
// What will you write about? - Now that you've determined when and where you'll write, what will you write about? If you've dabbled even a small amount in writing you'll know that an editorial calendar can be a writer's best friend or worst nightmare. I lean on the side of maintaining a loose editorial calendar. Since my writing style, particularly on my blog, revolves around life moments happening in real time, it's near impossible to predict every post for the month. Instead, I insert a few staple items I wish to write about, then schedule loose topical writings such as "Monday: Write About your Weekend" or "Wednesday: share a recent ministry experience". You see, loose, but providing me a skeleton structure to run off. Later this month we'll discuss in greater detail how to organize your ideas, but for today, play around with what you will write about, try your hand at putting together a loose (or rigid if that's your style) editorial calendar.
And with that, exercise no. 2 is complete! Have fun with this fellow writers, remember that you don't want to fit yourself into a box you weren't meant to fit. Walk through exercise no. 2 and truly get to know yourself. Shelf what everyone else is doing and look honestly at what 'getting serious' about writing means for you personally. We'll see you back here tomorrow for another post on grammar!