Establish Healthy Writing Patterns


Jenna Avery from Script Magazine offers some new approaches to managing your writing sessions.

1) USE A TIMER FOR YOUR WRITING SESSIONS

If you’re working on a script, setting a time goal for writing, whether that’s brainstorming, editing, outlining, or writing new words, makes it much easier to be and feel successful. When the timer dings, you know you’ve met your goal and that it’s time to knock off for a break or for the day.

Plus, using a timer helps you stay focused on the task at hand, and you’ll be much less likely to go off surfing on Facebook or elsewhere. Try “burst” writing sessions of 30, 45 or 60 minutes.

2) LEAVE YOURSELF A ROUGH EDGE

Cory Doctorow says, “When you hit your daily word-goal, stop. Stop even if you’re in the middle of a sentence. Especially if you’re in the middle of a sentence. That way, when you sit down at the keyboard the next day, your first five or ten words are already ordained, so that you get a little push before you begin your work. Potters leave a rough edge on the wet clay before they wrap it in plastic for the night — it’s hard to build on a smooth edge.”

Though it may be hard to discipline yourself to do so, you will find it easier to get started when you stop mid-thought. This is because your subconscious mind keeps working on finishing that sentence until you sit down again to write. So you’re ready to go — no need to “warm up.”

3) DECLARE YOURSELF SATISFIED

Coach and author Jennifer Louden teaches the concept of “declaring yourself satisfied.” This involves meeting your goal, preferably one with a measurable time element. Be sure to select something you can easily attain on an average day. Then, STOP when you meet those conditions and declare yourself satisfied.

4) IMMEDIATELY REWARD YOURSELF FOR WRITING

Rather than creating a punishment situation around your writing, look instead for ways to create positive associations. After all, you’ve just overcome resistance, faced the blank page, and ponied up the good stuff. You deserve to celebrate. Check your email, facebook etc.

This way, you’re positively reinforcing the act of writing, making it easier to come back to, and reducing the likelihood of writer’s block.

5) PACE YOURSELF FOR THE LONG TERM

If you pace yourself well, not pushing past your regular goals into superhuman-manic-writer-turned-procrastinator you may just find yourself meeting your goals as time goes on. This even applies when you have deadlines and must keep writing even if your muse has left. Take breaks, leave your work station, exercise, meditate after each writing task.

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