Editor’s note: this post was first published in 2010. (New posts on the C2C will return on May 6th 2013.)
This is Part Two of a two-part series. Make sure to read Part One first, “How To Start Your Best Writing Day Ever,” before you read Part Two:
How to Finish Your Best Writing Day Ever
1. Stay Three Steps Ahead of Your Inner Saboteur
We’ve talked about your inner saboteur before, but for those who don’t know, your inner saboteur is that part of you that tries to thwart your best efforts.
Some people’s saboteur’s are actual, real-life human beings like unsupportive parents, but a lot of us have a saboteur that is inside of us that is always trying to make us run away from any big risks.
So, as you finish your Best Writing Day Ever, you’ll find that your inner saboteur will not have it.
“Oh,” he says, “you’re actually trying to get something done? And you’re going to try to have the best time doing it? Well, not if I can help it!”
So as you begin to actually write, your saboteur will start to say:
“Let’s ignore Ollin’s suggestion that we ‘Write First.’ I mean it’s not a big deal right? We don’t need to write now anyway, we can do it after we check our e-mail. Why don’t we do that right now? Shall we? Yes, why don’t you just click on that Firefox icon and open up a web browser and see if you got a response from what’s-her-face about that watchamacallit. Yes, just click on the Firefox icon. Dooo it. Dooo it. DOOO IT!”
Your saboteur finally makes you click on the icon. Your saboteur is already on his way to ruin your Best Writing Day Ever. (What a jerk, huh?)
But hold on. Wait a minute. Once you clicked on that Firefox icon, a page opened up. Wait. What does it say? It says:
“WHAT!?” your saboteur screams. “This can’t be. You’re supposed to get distracted by your e-mail box. Oh wait!” (He laughs) “I’ll just click on this Safari icon. HA! HA!”
You click on the Safari icon. Your homepage opens up. The homepage reads:
“WHAT!?” your saboteur screams. “NO! NO! NO! I must read the headlines on CNN.com. Must… know… crazy things… radical republicans are saying… so that I can… be angry at them… all day… Must… hear… the phrase ‘in this economy’ one more time… must… not… have… my best writing day ever… Click on Google Chrome!”
You click on Google Chrome. The homepage reads:
Your inner saboteur screams: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”
Congratulations, you have successfully put yourself 3 steps ahead of your inner saboteur!
In conclusion, I would suggest you make each of your home pages direct you to a private page on your blog that reads “WRITE FIRST” all over it. That way, should you ever try getting out of writing first by checking e-mail or the like, you will always be prevented from doing this.
Inner saboteur: 0. Writer: 1.
2. Think In Future Tense
If you are a beginning fiction writer like me, you’re probably not getting paid for your fiction (because you haven’t published anything yet). So, you will often either feel guilty about writing, or you will feel like you are wasting your time writing.
But you should not feel guilty, nor should you feel like you are wasting your time. Why? Think of it this way: you are getting paid. Just not in the present tense. You are being paid in the future tense. You might be thinking that you should be doing something else that will pay you immediately, but this is just your inner saboteur working his mischief again.
Yes, you should be doing things to earn a living at the moment (you kinda have to), but that does not mean you have to sacrifice your writing in order to do so.
Because your writing is paying you. Just not now.
Listen, there are tons of things you do that do not pay you, and won’t ever pay you. Like watching TV, reading a book, or having dinner with friends. And yet, you still do them, right? But you never say: “I’m not going to do these things anymore because I don’t get paid for doing them.”
No. You don’t say that. You never say that. So, why would you use that same excuse to get in the way of your writing when you do tons of things that don’t (and will never) pay you for doing them? On the other hand, writing–unlike watching TV, reading a book, or having dinner with friends–will get you paid.
Just not right now. But later. Later later. Just not right now right now.
Don’t believe you’ll ever get paid to write fiction? Then you better start the practice of believing in yourself today.
When athletes finish a race or a competition, they always take the time to strut. When rappers hit the right beat, or demonstrate the right flow, they always take the time to stand back and enjoy the moment.
Why can’t writers do the same?
When you’re done with your writing, take a moment to strut. Bask in your progress. Enjoy the sun as it sets, or the wind as it blows across your face, and say to yourself:
“Wow, I did it today. I had my Best Writing Day Ever. Go me.“
4. Reward Yourself
You’ve done the hard work. You’ve made it through your Best Writing Day Ever, and you’ve finished it with style.
Now, it’s time to reward yourself with that guilt-free, inexpensive, and thoughtful gift you had planned for yourself ever since the morning. Enjoy that relaxing facial massage, watch that episode of Modern Family, make yourself a nice hot chocolate, buy yourself some pretty flowers, write a little note of congratulations to yourself.
Relax. Enjoy. Be happy. You did it. You are the victor. Now enjoy the spoils.
5. Plan and Get Rest
The last thing to do before you end your Best Writing Day Ever is to prepare for the next day. Make a list of what needs to get done tomorrow so that it all goes as smoothly as possible. Get a good night’s rest so you’re not cranky the next day. Avoid caffeine or eating right before you go to bed. Avoid watching television and surfing the internet right before you go to bed. You don’t want an upset stomach or an upset mind messing up your sweet dreams.
You want to make sure you have a peaceful, restful sleep so that you are ready in the morning to have your NEXT Best Writing Day Ever!
That’s right. You are going to have another, and another, and another. As many as you can. Why? Because you deserve it.
What? You feel like you need permission?
I just gave it to you.
One Last Thing
If things should go wrong during your day, remember that you are the one deciding how you are approaching a certain situation. There may be days when you just feel like sulking. Ok. Then sulk. Let it out. Then move on.
What I am saying is your Best Writing Day Ever does not mean you will be smiling and happy all day, every day. No, your Best Writing Day Ever means you are just trying your best to make it a good day, but it doesn’t mean you resist or pretend that something bad isn’t happening.
No, I recommend not resisting what happens in your day: what I do recommend is working with what is given to you. The best, overall strategy is just to go about your day being aware. When you are aware, you are better prepared to find solutions to the problems that arise and you are able to prevent the worst of your day from consuming your entire day.
Good luck to you.
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