December 14, 2011

know your business

Twelve Days of Writing No. 6: Make writing your business.

An author at a writing conference I attended four years ago shared advice I took to heart, but only recently put to use.

Stephanie Bond told us to make writing our business. Treat it like a job, not an occasional pastime, and you will produce results. It made sense to me. Unfortunately, your story will not write itself, and you must put the words down on paper (or screen) if you want it told.

But how do you do it?

Use these tips:

1. Create a schedule. Mark down all of the times that are already taken by work and other regular activities. Then, select blocks of time you would like to use for writing. Though any amounts of time will work, I like to find at least an hour at a time. Several hours all together are even better for me, because I can get in the writing zone.

2. Stick to your schedule. What good is a schedule if you don't stick to it? If your boss schedules you to work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday then you probably show up to work before 8 and stay until 5 Monday through Friday. If you say you will write from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays with a short break for lunch than do it.

3. Create a workplace. I'm a little lax in this part. I have a desk in my barbrary, but I do most of my writing in coffee shops, on my couch or in bed. I think the most important thing is to find a place where you are comfortable.

4. Have the right resources. Make sure your computer is in working order. Need paper? Writing utensils? Dictionary? Get them.

5. Give yourself a performance evaluation. When you do well, reward yourself by going to see a movie you wanted or have sushi. Bribery can work. 

By creating parameters for yourself to stick to and taking your writing serious, you can yield greater results.

Giveaway challenge: What other ways could you make writing your business?

Answer in the comments below to be entered to win this week's Twelve Days of Writing drawing. Be sure to check back Friday at 2 p.m. CDT to see if you are this week's winner. Read about the contest and what prizes you can win here.

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