The Top 3 Requirements for Any Serious Writer Striving for Writing Success
Getting your writing done so you can achieve your writing goals involves being disciplined and proactive about eliminating present and future distractions.
Through my quest for greater productivity, I have discovered that I must have a routine in order to be productive. Certain things need to be taken care of first thing in the morning so that I do not dwell on them throughout the day. For instance, every morning, I clean out the cats' litter box and give them food and water. That way the cats are taken care of for the day and all I have to worry (if you can call it "worry") about later on is making sure they get a few minutes of "cuddle time."
The cats are easier than the dog, but I try my best to keep the dog on a schedule. I take him out for a quick walk before 5:30 every morning. We walk up to the chicken house to turn the lights on (I take care of 500 chickens–singlehandedly when my husband is out of town for work), then we walk back to our house. The dog goes on the chain (our split-rail fence around the yard won't keep him in). Then at 6:30, I take care of the chickens. Half hour later, the dog comes in, has his breakfast, and then stays in the house until I have my lunch. He gets his lunch and then goes back outside for the rest of the afternoon. We rarely stray from the schedule and it works pretty well.
It's important that you develop a routine for those things that need to be done every day. I used to put them off, but then they would nag at me throughout the day. I still need to add certain things to my routine, but I'm taking it slow.
Discipline is really important when it comes to achieving your goals. After all, you are in charge, so you control how productive you are. You control how many words or pages you write, how many stories and articles you submit to editors, how much progress you make on your new book.
Do you often blame others? It's easy to place the blame on someone else. Maybe your spouse isn't fully supportive of your writing aspirations and constantly interrupts you or holds you back in some way. Or maybe the kids are too demanding that you never seem to have much time to yourself.
The cold, hard truth is that if you want to be a serious writer, you must take charge of your own destiny and your writing goals. You need to make time–do whatever it takes to get the writing done.
Maybe you need to set some ground rules or boundaries, or maybe you need to schedule some time at the library or a quiet coffee shop so you can get away from the household responsibilities. Maybe you need to section off a part of a room or a closet to make your very own writing space.
Do whatever it takes to get the writing done. If you need to, set a timer and write during that time.
In order to do what we love and still take care of the things that need attention, we need to find a way to make it work. Maybe you need to get up earlier or maybe you need to stay up late.
I rarely get any work done when my husband is home, and I definitely don't get anything done if I allow my cats in my office with me. Recently, I turned our living room into a multi-purpose room; we now have the couch and TV (my husband won't let me get rid of the TV) and then I have a utility table set up behind the couch. I've noticed that simply being near my cats in their preferred spaces helps them to not pester me when I'm working. Right now, as I'm writing this, one is lying in the window and another is sleeping on the dog's bed. They haven't even pestered me yet, but if I were to go to my office and leave the door open, one would be standing in front of my monitor blocking my view.
So, the point here is that you have to do what works for you. Figure out what makes you more productive–for me, I have to have a schedule–and develop a routine to make it a habit.
Remember, you must have discipline, you must take your writing seriously, and you must be proactive about preventing distractions. And whether you develop a writing schedule or not, you still need to develop a habit of writing every day.
Do you have a routine? How do you handle distractions? I'd love to hear about what works for you. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.