Getting down to doing writing is difficult if you’re running your own business. Most of us don’t have the luxury of dropping everything and getting away from it all to focus on writing alone (wish we could!). Here’s an article to help you find the focus you need to get your writing done despite everything else.
This is a guest post from my client Jane Northcote, author of the fantastic Making Change Happen book. We worked together to produce her book whilst Jane continued to run her busy consulting practice. She describes the process and discipline that worked for her to ensure she made time for her writing:
How to stop thinking about it and get your writing done
If you’ve researched your story, you understand your audience and you know what you want to say, then moving to action and starting to write should be utterly straightforward and require no particular effort. Right?
Not so. All writers, whether scribing for books, blogs or whitepapers, know only too well that sometimes this just isn’t the case. Getting down to the physical act of writing can take a herculean force of will.
Distractions crowd in. Secondary objectives suddenly become appealing. Shall I place that grocery order? Read my email? Clear out my desk drawer? All of these suddenly seem more attractive than just logging on and starting to write.
How can we get ourselves to stop procrastinating and move straight to action?
I’ve just started a blog and recently finished writing my first book. Here are a few ideas. They work for me!
1. Remember why you are doing this; write this down first.
Remind yourself what this chapter/article/paper will do for you and your business when completed. This action is taking you in a direction you want to go. Remember this objective and write it down at the top of your To Do list.
2. Stop using energy thinking about it. Redirect energy into doing it.
Just do it. Walk into your office; open your computer and start.
3. Remember that actions are finite.
Anticipate the end. Once you’ve done it, it’s done, and it won’t have to be done again. So get on with it!
4. Ask someone to manage you.
Tell a peer, a friend or your boss that it will be done by 3 pm. If they are a real friend, they’ll drop by a while before the deadline to check that you have started.
5. Tell a large number of people you’ll do it.
Trap yourself. If you’ve made a commitment to a lot of people then the shame of saying you didn’t try will outweigh the effort of doing it.
6. Find something in the action you enjoy; give yourself a treat.
Write in a pleasant place – a favourite coffee shop or library or a room overlooking the sea (as I’m writing from now). What ever it takes: wear favourite clothes or special socks – like athletes do!
7. Do nothing else.
Allow yourself to do nothing else until you’ve completed your chapter/paper/article. To finish, here is Raymond Chandler, creator of Philip Marlowe and author of novels and screenplays, writing about how he gets himself to do things.
‘The important thing is that there should be a space of time, say four hours a day at least, when a professional writer doesn’t do anything else but write. He doesn’t have to write, and if he doesn’t feel like it he shouldn’t try. He can look out of the window or stand on his head or writhe on the floor, but he is not to do any other positive thing, not read, not write letters, glance at magazines, or write checks. Either write or nothing.’
I love his practice of setting aside a period of time each day to write and do nothing else but write. It is this kind of discipline that is needed if you want to get a major piece of writing done whilst continuing to run your business.
What works for you? How do you get your writing done? I’d be fascinated to know.
You will find Jane’s book Making Change Happen on Amazon: Making Change Happen – a practical guide to implementing business change.