2012, Week 1

Just thought I’d check in now that we’ve made it through the first week of the new year. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thriving!

I’ve set up an awesome little writing nook for myself which I love. I’ve started the process of purging things I don’t need anymore–like my old desk. I realized that unlike when I used to do a lot of video editing for my short films, I simply don’t like working at a desk. Whenever I go to a coffee shop to write, I’m always choosing a comfy armchair. So, out with the desk and in with a new armchair!

I’ve also started a new writing practice which seems to be working for me. I have a serious information addiction. I used to wake up and check my email and Facebook before even getting out of bed! (And I know I’m not the only one…)

Now my alarm goes off at 7 am and I don’t even look at my phone. Except to turn off the alarm, of course 😉 I sit up in bed, still sleepy eyed, and bang out 500 words. They don’t have to be 500 good words, in fact they are more of a brain drain than anything else, but I don’t even make coffee until those words are done.

I’ve found this to be so helpful. One, it helps me get onto the page anything that’s running around in my brian: stuff I need to do, something I dreamt about, etc. But after a couple hundred words, I start thinking about what I’m going to be writing that day. I used to do that before, but not until I sat down to write, “officially” for the day. I’m liking this way so much better because I find that I get excited for what’s to come, so that instead of it being a chore to sit down and start writing, I’m eager to.

So, I get the 500 words done–some dross, some a helpful map of where my writing day is headed. Then I feed both of my addictions; caffeine (only one cup per day) and information. I spend 30 or so minutes catching up on email, Facebook, Twitter, and curating my ScoopIt pages. If I’m hungry, I have some breakfast while I do it.

Then, I quit my email program, hide the web pages, and get to work. As of now, I’m writing 2000 words per day. I don’t write them all in one sitting; I take one or two 15 minute breaks to check email, web surf, or just get up from my comfy armchair.

I know I could write more than 2k words per day, but unless I’m feeling really inspired, I’m usually stopping soon after hitting that goal. I have dealt with burnout in the past, and I’m experimenting with ways to eliminate it. I’m finding that instead of being exhausted at the end of my writing day, I feel only a little drained and can spring back into activity fairly easily. I spend the rest of the afternoon doing research, promoting Gateway and reading blogs.

I take (almost) two days off per week. On those days I am still doing my 500 words in the morning, and I also work on my weekly blog post to the Companion Blog of The Gateway Series.

I am really liking this new way of working. It solves many problems at once: that I sometimes have a hard time sitting down to work, that I get distracted by email, etc., and that I tend to get burned out after a while. I’ll need to do this consistently for a few more weeks to get a full view of how it impacts my actual writing, but for now, I’m actually looking forward to Monday when I start the process all over again!

What fresh, new things are you doing in this new year?