Friday Favorites: The War of Art

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Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art is not just for writers. It’s a book for anyone who wants to overcome their Resistance to doing anything, whether it be a creative art form, exercising, starting a business, etc. As he says at the beginning of the book, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: it’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”* I don’t know as I agree that the writing is the easy part – it’s …

Overcoming Resistance

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Confession: I struggle with Resistance every day. Part of the reason I keep so busy is that otherwise, I’d get nothing done. You name it, I resist doing it: exercise, writing, working, chores, calling people, cooking…. Sometimes I think I’m a sloth in a human body. Once I’m doing whatever it is I’m resisting, I’m usually fine. I get in the flow. I just do it, and it’s almost never as bad as it was through the lenses of my Resistance. Then once I’m doing it, I resist moving on to the next activity. I know this one, I’m comfortable …

Befriending Your Work

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Every so often, I catch myself saying, “I should write this weekend.” Or, “I have to finish that chapter.” It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy “to do” lists we have, and add our creative work to them. There can be a fine line between making writing a habit and making it just another thing we “have to” do, or “should” do. But that kills any enthusiasm or motivation we may have. Sometimes it’s a matter of reframing how we think of writing. Yes, it can be hard, and it’s also something we love to do. When it’s …

DIY Writing Retreat

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I just returned from a fabulous weekend in Vermont, where I actually managed to get some writing done, despite the lure of friends, gorgeous hikes, great food, and lots of shopping (for birthdays and Christmas – and some goodies for myself, of course!). The weekend was partially intended as a writing retreat, but it was somewhat ad hoc except for Saturday morning, when we had a more formal writing session using prompts, and gathered to read our work aloud or just talk about the process afterward. I love doing mini writing retreats. If you don’t have the time or money …

7 Ways to Get More Energy Now

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When you ask most writers what they’d like more of (besides money) they’ll say: time. “If I only had more time, I could write more.” But more time isn’t always the answer. Let’s face it, we all have 24 hours in a day. And we all have plenty of “stuff” to fill those hours. It’s important to be mindful of how we spend the time we have: do we spend a lot of time on Facebook or other social media? Do we suddenly get the urge to clean the house just at the moment we’ve promised ourselves we’d write? It …

Mid-Summer Check-In

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Now that August is here, it’s time to do a check-in of your writing plan: what is working? What isn’t? This isn’t a time to beat yourself up. If you’ve let things slide up to now, you still have time to do some writing before the fall hits. If you’ve been grooving along, getting the work done, great! Keep going! If you’ve bit a bit of a wall, and need a little oomph of motivation (aka a kick in the ass) well, that’s fine too. No judgment here. Judging sets you back, gets you in a self-doubting mental loop that …

Your Summer Writing Plan

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Last weekend, as we wrapped up our day-long writing workshop, my writer’s group went around and stated what we planned to work on over the summer. We’re meeting again in September, so it was good to state our goals, especially after having received feedback on our work. Hearing others’ enthusiasm for their work and mine got me jazzed up to get back to working on a project I’d set aside as having too many thorny story problems that needed sorting. Summer is often the odd season out. Vacations, the lure of weekends spent outdoors, kids off school, and all the …

The Writer’s Life List

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Some people find writing whole-life lists daunting. Others find that what they write at one time in their life no longer applies ten or twenty years later (that has certainly been my experience). I like to brainstorm a list and choose one or two things to focus on for the year. That gives me a manageable time frame to work with, as well as a deadline. One of these is always related to writing. It can be great to think about the all-time experiences you want to have, and to work toward more than one goal at a time. But …

No Zero Days

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Recently, I was at my mother’s for her 8oth birthday. We had a lovely dinner out for her (despite the snow) and I stayed an extra few days to spend time with her and also get some stuff done there. I enjoy spending time with her, and our time is more precious because of her advancing years and failing health. However, when I go there, it often means everything else come to a screeching halt. It’s really hard to focus on anything else, especially writing. This time, I came committed to the concept of No Zero Days. I didn’t get …

Do Not Break the Chain

janav Productivity, Time Management, Writing

I’ve become a big promoter of the advantages of getting up early to write – I’m a reformed writing night owl, if you will, although just last night I woke up at 3:45 a.m. with an Awesome Idea I just had to get down… But it can be difficult to change. I’ve worked on different strategies to build the morning writing habit over the years, and I’ve come up with a few ideas that might help if you’re struggling: • Review what you wrote that day before you go to bed, and maybe make some short notes about the next …