Okay. It’s 9:10. I’ve got fifty minutes before bedtime to write this blog. Have I procrastinated? Possibly- if watching The Bachelor on TiVo counts- which it so doesn’t. It’s practically research for a romance writer. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) So what happened to the rest of my day? Like some writers, I also work a second job. In my case, I’m blessed to be a teacher. My work day starts at 7:45 a.m. and by the time essays are graded, the dinner dishes are in the washer, I’ve finished my post-holiday-weight-gain work out, and satisfied my addiction to all things on the BRAVO network for at least thirty minutes (a girl’s got to have a little fun), it’s usually around seven p.m. before I can write. That’s three hours of uninterrupted power writing time… unless my daughter needs help with homework, there’s a pet clean-up on Aisle One, or my husband needs me to answer questionable credit card charges to Amazon. It seems like a short amount of time, but it’s amazing how many words you can pack in when you’re in the zone. Here are some of my tips for power writing:
1. Hide. Seriously. Find a spot in the house where you won’t be located, sniffed out, or hollered to. I’ve even written in the backseat of my garage-parked car during NFL playoffs.
2. Give yourself incentives. At the end of every page, I treat myself to some M&Ms (see also my post-holiday weight gain which may have started prior to said holidays- ahem)
3. Wear comfy clothes. A power writing session is no time for control top panty hose. Plus, they just make me crabby. (And yes, I’ve noticed the direct connection between the M&M incentive and my need for an elastic waist band- but I’m no Carrie Bradshaw *sigh*)
4. Turn off your iPhone. I know. It’s hard. Like leaving your puppy outside in the rain. But take a few deep yoga breaths or a handful of M&Ms, put it down and walk away slowly. You must or it will bark at you the entire time you need to focus.
5. Spend your non-writing time formulating a plan if you don’t already have a chapter outline. So what if you’re at the copier mumbling potential dialogue under your breath? That’s called multi-tasking. Now if you were wearing a tin foil hat to keep the aliens from talking back to you… that would be a WHOLE other story.
6. As the legend that is Kenny Rogers sang: you have to know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em. If the writing muse has gone off in a sulk, let her go. She’ll be back when she’s hungry. Patience wins the day as does gratuitous candy bribing.
7. Give yourself permission to write terribly. Really. Stink up the page. No one’s going to judge you. Certainly not that blank white page. I mean- what has it ever done but tried to torment writers through the ages? Well don’t let it. Don’t forget. You have a shredder.
8. Whatever you do- don’t look back. Just keep writing until you’ve hit that word count goal. As Scarlett O’Hara, the greatest Romance heroine of all time once said, “Tomorrow is another day.” And that day is revision.
9. Keep a notepad handy at all times… even by your bed. It’s amazing how the most tightly knotted plot issue will completely unravel when you aren’t trying to fix it, or the craziest dream will be the seed from which sprouts your next novel; it worked for Stephenie Meyer (You might have heard of a little thing called the Twilight saga…) J
10. Drum roll… It’s just as important to stop as it is to start. The wind might be in your sails, the muse singing in your ears, your supped up laptop cruising along at sixty words a minute… but hit the brakes! You’re out of gas and are running on a sugar-fueled adrenalin rush. You just won’t know it until you wake-up with your face pressed to your keyboard, the letters S, D, F, and G branded into your cheek. Not a good look. And what’s more. You’ll have to do it all over again. So remember to rest when you’ve hit that goal. You earned it. And learn from Scarlett. Tomorrow is another day.
I hope you enjoyed my tips on power writing. What are yours? I would love to hear them. Enter them in the comments section of this post to win a $25 gift card to Beauty.Com. After all that power writing, you deserve it! Check on my author facebook www.facebook.com/JKRockwriters where I will announce the winner and ask for mailing information. Happy power writing!!