Last week I accompanied my husband on a trip out of state. Two of the days I was able to spend in the hotel with my laptop, writing like I hadn't a care in the world. It was the closest I've been to a writer's retreat. No meals to prepare, fewer distractions. But in a lot of ways, I'm blessed with that opportunity on a regular basis from my home office desk. I don't always take full advantage of that fact, but I usually try.
In analyzing what things keep me spending my time writing when I have no time card to punch, I've come up with a few. Maybe you have some useful tips to share as well. Here's a few:
1. Enthusiasm. Start with a scene you are excited to write, even if it's out of order from where you left off. And you just might end up replacing those trouble spots with something better.
2. Manageable Goals. Break your goals down into smaller chunks with short time frames that don't overwhelm. Go for fifteen minutes straight, for instance, and see where it leads.
3. Motivation. Having a critique group that expects my submission every week is strong motivation. Others have some sort of accounting partner or personal reward system. Find what motivates you.
4. Timing. Would changing your routine or fitting in writing into unusual time slots help? Sometimes we don't know if it's a better way until we try something new. Do you know what your body clock likes? Try experimenting in one new way.
5. Attitude. Wake up and remind yourself that you get to write today, that this story that nobody else can tell just like you is ready and waiting. You get to be creative, develop your talent, and have fun. Today you will surprise yourself and write something more amazing than you imagined. Now go for it.
All these practices add up to a finished project, like my first published book whose birthday is this week. Happy birthday to Secrets of the King's Daughter!