The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

9 Ways To Jumpstart Your Writing Goal 

Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing. 
~Heather Armstrong

In the past I conducted a writing project called Gotta Get Goals where people blogged about the life goals that they just had to get done before their time was up. Not surprisingly, the majority of the people said that writing a best selling novel was high up on their goals list.

This tells me that a lot of people can relate to the desire to create beautiful writing, while a lot of people lack the discipline to put the pen to the paper.

Like most goals, accomplishment comes with investments in time, in brain power, and consistent commitment. Here I will discuss some specific things you can do to get a jump start on developing a writing habit. If writing is not for you, think of a life goal that you have and then build a plan for it.

Let's now take a look at some writing-specific habit making techniques.

Building The Writing Habit

A set time. Each and every morning I wake up at 6am and begin writing. They say the first waking hour is the Golden Hour, where you concentrate and experience the most creativity. I think this is true for me, and it can be true for you even if you aren't a morning person. Once you are in the habit of writing at a certain time, that is your Golden Time.

A set place. Since I do my writing right when I wake up, it's pretty much always done in my bedroom, at my writing desk, on my laptop. While I will occasionally write from other locations or on different computers, this is home base (literally). The purpose of this is to continually trigger my mind into a creative flow. You might want to have a completely separate computer just for your writing in order to build an even stronger connection with writing and this apparatus.

Writing Utensils. I do 95% of my writing on my Dell Inspiron 6000 machine. It may not be luxurious, but it gets the job done. My program of choice for all initial writing happens to be Dark Room. It is a very basic program that takes up the whole screen and forces concentration on the written word.

Idea Lists. An important part of stimulating creativity is the act of bringing plentiful ideas to the writing table. To do this it is important to carry a Moleskin or a Voice Recorder with you throughout the day. You might be in a very random place when you get your million dollar idea and you'll want to capture every nuance of it instead of letting it get forgotten by trusting your memory.

Kill Distractions. I hope no one skimming this list is going to throw a hatchet at the first person to knock on the door while they're writing. On a serious note, it's very important to preserve quiet in a distraction free writing space because it takes several minutes to enter a creative flow state after a disturbance. If it takes you 15 minutes to get into maximum flow, and you get distracted every 20 

20 minutes, you aren't realizing your full writing potential as you throw yourself into the writing world.

Quit Quitting. Get used to quitting all those self-limiting beliefs that say you have nothing to write about, no fresh ideas, and cannot properly articulate the language. Forget that. Put the pen to the paper, and write anything that comes to mind, and see where that takes you.

Sit In Dark and Silence. Create a time where you can just sit with your eyes closed for 15 minutes and think. You can concentrate on the stillness and block out all ideas or try asking a question of someone that has all the answers in the world. You'll be surprised to find that your mind will generate the answers for you, then get up and write.

Ideas, Not Grammar. I know that my ideas are worth their weight in gold, but my grammar might not always be on top of the class. If that is the case with you, don't worry about it; write however you write. If it's a serious piece of work, the editor will take care of it for you. 

Otherwise your purpose should be to make the ideas as understandable as possible, and nothing more.

Revisit. Contrary to number 8 that says 'Write and don't worry about it', a great writing habit is to revisit your work to revise. On a second run, especially after a day break from the work, you get to see it with fresh eyes, and a fresh state, that can word things in a completely different way. This is where you make your ideas even more understandable.
What have you done to kick start your long term writing goals? Let us all know in the comments. Who knows, your words of wisdom may help the next person that stumbles into this article!

Written by Alex Shalman of Practical Personal Development.