Editor’s note: this post was first published in 2010. (New posts on the C2C will return on May 6th, 2013.)
Time that I share with you the pièce de résistance, the golden chalice, the mucho mojo, that thing that the Germans call a certain awesomnuz. (FYI: I don’t speak German.)
It is now time to share with you The Secret.
No, not the one that Oprah talks about. I’m talking about the secret to making today your Best Writing Day Ever!
Okay, maybe not ever. But you get the point.
(This one was too long, so it’s going to be a two part-er).
Okay. Here we go:
How To Start Your Best Writing Day Ever
1. Make Your Day Something To Look Forward To
I used to dread getting up in the morning. I just didn’t want to get up to meet the new day. I was like: “What do I have to look forward to?” When I finally did wake up, and did face the day, I discovered that this constant, negative outlook was always confirmed. Nothing worthwhile ever happened as I went on with my day. Either the day was just a normal, boring day, or it was a really crappy one.
At the end of the day I would think: See? My days are always crappy! So when I went to sleep that night, I would dread going to bed because then that would mean I would have to wake up and dread facing another crappy day. (Oh, the vicious cycles!) All of this, of course, I would blame on some outside force that I was certain was purposely making my days crappy.
But then the light bulb went off.
Aha! I said, what if I secretly conspire to make my day the best day ever, instead of secretly conspiring to make my day the worst day ever? THAT WAS IT!
So, first step in to starting your best writing day ever: make a conscious choice to make today the best writing day ever! Make today something to look forward to. Plant a little reward at the end of the day, just for you! So you can look forward to it. If you’re broke, don’t make it cost anything. Better yet, make it thoughtful and free. Then, you won’t ever feel guilty about spending too much.
“Nothing’s for free, Ollin!”
Bullocks! Bullocks! (I don’t know what that means) but bullocks! Go learn how to give yourself a facial massage and give yourself this massage at the end of today!
Consider it your first gift from me to you, for being such a hardworking writer.
2. Wake Up
There is more to waking up than just opening your eyes.
In my opinion meditation is the best way to start your day. There is something about deciding to spend your first moments of the day on your breath, on being present, and on your body, instead of your thoughts, that really sets the day up perfectly. When you start off your day in meditation, you are setting a tone for the rest of the day that says you are going to try your best to stay present, focused, alert and in your body the entire time.
After meditation, you might want to write in your journal. (I learned this trick from Julia Cameron.) You know all those worried thoughts you get in the morning? Well, write them all down first thing in the morning! Get those thoughts out of your head, and out of the way, so you can enjoy the rest of your day.
Finally, get the blood pumping and your body energized by taking a jog (or even just a walk) around the block. You’ll feel energized afterwards, and plus, you get some much-needed air and sunshine. You need the sun to fill you up with all its energy. In the past, I used to stay inside most of the day and I didn’t realize it. I would go straight from home, to my car, to work, and then enter a classroom or an office. Basically, I would remain in the shade most of the day. But we are humans. We need the sun, people! It makes us happy, it makes our day.
So make the sun a big part of starting your day.
3. Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Unexpected
Notice how I didn’t say: How to Start Your Best Writing Day Ever–Guaranteed! I’m not putting a guarantee on all this. You will have your bad days, you will have your god-awful days. But the important thing to remember is that you are conspiring to make today your best writing day ever.
So the best thing you can do is to mentally prepare yourself for all that might go wrong today by telling yourself:
“Whatever goes wrong today, I will try my best to turn the situation either in my favor, or to look at it in a more favorable light. I will try not to let this bad event take ruin my whole day. I will address the problem. Then, once it is addressed, I will let it go and proceed with my best writing day ever.”
The point is this: do not rely on outside events to dictate how crappy or how happy your day is going to turn out. Mentally prepare yourself for all the crap that may go wrong. In fact, if there is one thing I can guarantee is that things will go wrong as you attempt to make this your best writing day ever. But from now on, you will be working on the idea that your best defense in life is a best offense. Anticipate that crap is going to happen, and promise yourself you will try to make the best out of it, and that it won’t ruin your entire day, like a black hole that sucks in an entire galaxy.
4. Dress Up
Dress in your nicest clothes. Do your hair up a little bit. Make yourself look nice.
That way if you write outside of your home and a cute, single guy or gal should come by and ask you what you are doing, you can toss your head back and say, smugly: “Oh, I’m just having my best writing day ever.”
Confidence and a higher sense of self-esteem (due to the fact that you now look good and not like a curmudgeon) will help ensure your best writing day ever.
5. Write First
Now, once you’re done with your day job, and you’re done doing all the important household shores, and you are about to relax and spend some hours watching TV, or surfing the internet, just as you pick up that remote, or click on that Safari icon, I want you to–STOP! STOP! STOP! PUT IT DOWN. NOW!
STEP AWAY FROM THE REMOTE.
DON’T CLICK THE ICON.
Okay. Before you watch TV, or surf the internet, there is something you have to get to first.
What is that?
YOU HAVE TO WRITE. YES, NOT AFTER. BEFORE. WRITE FIRST.
“But why? I need to watch this episode of Glee right now! I can’t miss it!”
Make watching your favorite TV show a reward AFTER you have written for the day. You don’t have to miss it. You can watch it after you write.
“But I always get my writing done, even if I do write after watching TV, or surfing the internet. So there.”
This post is not titled your “Writing Day Ever.” There is a reason why there is the word “Best” before the word “Writing.”
This is not about getting you to write. It’s about making this day the best writing experience possible. So how does Writing First help with that? It rids you of the guilt. If you write first, you can watch your show, or surf the internet afterwards completely guilt-free. You don’t have to deal with thoughts that say: “Ah, I should be writing right now!” or “Oh, I got to remember to write!” or “I better stop doing this and get to writing or else I won’t ever get to it!”
Instead of worrying that you will never get to it–just get to it already!
Take care of writing first.
much “BEST POST EVER!!!”
Editor’s note: If you liked this classic C2C post, make sure to read the re-run of Part Two of this post: “How To Finish Your Best Writing Day Ever.”
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