A guest post by Joan Dempsey, Literary Living
I’m not going to lie to you.
Reading this blog post isn’t going to cure your writer’s block once and for all. Nor will it eradicate your self-doubt. Those issues run far too deep to solve with a simple blog post.
What you can learn, though, is to curb your tendency to resist sitting down at the writing desk, and that’s the first step to resolving those more complex issues that every writer faces.
If you use these tools I guarantee you’ll get into the writing habit in no time. And the beauty is, they’re simple!
The first takes only 10 minutes a day, the second takes 20 minutes whenever you need to use it.
The 10 Minute Habit Builder
I learned this one from Leo Babauta (ZenHabits.net), author of The Power of Less. If you want to get into the habit of writing every single day (or doing anything else with great consistency), this is the tool for you. I’ve used Leo’s 9 Rules to Form a Habit three times now: to write, do yoga, and read every day. And the participants in my Literary Living program have each developed four new habits in the course of our 12 weeks together. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in only 10 minutes!
The 9 Rules are simple:
- Choose one habit.
- Start small.
- Commit publicly.
- Write your plan.
- Find a trigger.
- Be consistent.
- Report progress.
- Be positive.
To get started, just read the one-page description and choose your first habit.
20 Minute Magic
In his seminar he talked with us, in part, about how important it is to “stay out of the kitchen.” He suggested that if only you can stay at your writing desk for 20 minutes, “magic will happen.” Of course we all wanted to try out the master’s approach, so a bunch of us decided to commit to at least 20 minutes with ourselves firmly planted in our writing chairs to see what would happen.
You know what? It really was like magic.
No matter if we spent 15 of those 20 minutes with our heads on the desk in despair, by the time 20 minutes rolled around something had happened, even if it was something as small as an important captured thought about the work at hand. To this day, when I’m having trouble staying at the writing desk, I think about Carlson and give myself 20 minutes to find some magic. I’ve never been disappointed.
10 minutes a day, or 20 minutes when you need it . . . it won’t take long at all before you’re writing every day.
Joan Dempsey is a freelance writer and developer of Literary Living, a 12 week designed to help writers overcome self-doubt. You can find out about the program at: www.literaryliving.com