3 Tips to “Keeping the Bears Away” & Getting Back On Track

3 Tips to "Keeping the Bears Away" & Getting Back On Track
Photo by Bess Sadler / via Flickr

3 Tips to "Keeping the Bears Away" & Getting Back On Track

Are you frustrated with lack of progress? Do you want to write, but every time you sit down to write, something else pops up? Do you feel like you can never catch a break to devote enough time to writing?

If you are struggling in this area, here's a tough question: are you taking your writing seriously? More specifically, are you treating it like a business?

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the everyday tasks that come with working from home and we let our writing life slip away. Or we let distractions keep us from writing because we don’t have the guts to say the special two-letter word “no.” 

Does the desire to write ever go away though? You want to be a successful writer and you want to write because it means you can be happy. Without it, you're not yourself. Am I right?

If this is you, here are three tips to getting back on track.

1. Start with YOU

Your first step is to take your writing seriously. To do that, you need to start with YOU. You need to believe in your heart that you were designed to write and to have a positive impact in people's lives. It doesn't matter what type of impact you want to have; that will depend on your particular purpose. But you need to believe it, and you need to believe that what you have to offer is valuable and useful for other people.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What makes you want to be a writer?
  • What draws you to writing?
  • What do you love to write about?
  • What are your writing goals?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What messages do you want to send to your readers?

When we don't do the things we were designed to do, we're doing a disservice to those people we could help through our work. But in order to help others, we need to take our businesses, and our writing, seriously so that we can be productive and produce materials that will actually help others.

2. Believe In & Respect Yourself

Taking our businesses seriously means believing in and respecting ourselves by managing our time and energy.

Do you spend needless time chatting on Twitter or Facebook? Do you allow chaos to rule over your day and interfere with your productivity? Do you take personal calls during your work schedule? Do you let irrelevant things upset you?

Allowing these things to take place means that we don't respect our time or our businesses. According to research conducted by AchieveGlobal, a global leadership development firm, one of the top requirements that we all have in common is the need to be respected. First and foremost, are you giving yourself respect?

3. Command Respect

Respecting ourselves is only half the battle. We need others to respect us as well. Our friends and family need to honor us and accept that they can't have access to us during our scheduled work hours.

So, how do we command that respect? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Don’t answer the phone when they call during your work hours.
  • Don’t communicate with them via Twitter or Facebook during your work hours.
  • Explain to them that you are not available to chat during your work hours.

The saying goes, if you give an inch, they'll take a mile. And it's true. If you let it happen, you'll feed the bad behavior. It's like feeding the bears and inviting them into your space (or feeding the coyotes and inviting them to snatch your chickens). They'll do it; trust me.

It takes hard work to get respect, but it's necessary for a successful writing business. We can't afford interruptions or distractions that keep us from writing. Be firm about the interaction you have with others during your work schedule. If you give an inch… you get the idea.

Jody Calkins
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Jody Calkins

Freelance Writer & Book Editor at Emery Road Writing Services, LLC
Jody Calkins is a Freelance Writer & Book Editor, Writer's Coach, Content Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Pilot's Wife. Her unique talent is as a Back-to-Basics Step-By-Step Writing Expert who currently serves hundreds of clients in over 50 countries. Her editing services and training programs help novelists improve their writing skills, get motivated to write, improve productivity and time management, and battle self-doubt and other roadblocks. She works with middle-grade, young adult, and adult books in a variety of genres including Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, and Self-Help.
Jody Calkins
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  • Jody, you are absolutely right! I have had to get really clear with friends and family about the fact that I have specific work hours when I only take work calls. People think that because you are working from home you can do what ever you want because you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder. Well, I’m the boss and I need dedicated work hours so I don’t end up working in fits and starts from 7 am to midnight- I’ve tried that and it is exhausting!

  • Great tips Jody! I tell people up front that I gave myself a job; the best one I ever had! We don’t have our family living with us here in Canada, so that makes a lot easier for me. But I always enjoy your tips, thanks!!

  • Thanks for your comment, Vicky! Interruptions have been my biggest challenge. I need more than 15 minutes here and there to focus and write!

  • Great tips Jody, I have needed to have clearer converstions with some family for some time now… thanks for these tips!!!I will use it

  • Pat

    Good advice. I have the work at home always available syndrome going that I will tighten up. (except when maybe the grandkids want to come over!)

  • Thanks, Paul! I’d love to hear how those conversations go – we could all use more help! 🙂

  • Thanks! I think you lucked out, Olga! 😉 Although living far from family has its cons, too.

  • Amen to that Jody.

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  • Thanks for the reminder, sometimes the mech-bears with laser guided distraction rockets get to be a bit much. Honestly though, this is a great article and something I can use for myself as well as others who might ask. Thanks for sharing!