Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ANNE LAMOTT ON PRODUCTIVITY

If you've never heard of Anne Lamott, she's a National Bestselling American novelist and non-fiction writer. Her books include New York Times bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Rosie, and Crooked Little Heart.

Among writers, probably her most well-known book is Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1995). She is widely quoted, including the quote as depicted below, "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes... including YOU."

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes... including YOU." - Anne Lamott | inspirational writing quotes | productivity | famous author quotes


Rest Days


Often times, we think of rest days being counterproductive. Or counter intuitive to our productivity. But really, they're not. In the fitness world, rest days are all the rage right now. Scientists have proven that a single day of a 20-minute foam rolling routine actually produces better results the next day. Most athletes know that rest days are essential to recuperate and repair sore muscles, and synthesize proteins. If you don't schedule in rest days, your body would always be in a state of breaking down.

For athletes, that shouldn’t involve merely sitting around doing nothing. The point is to help your body recover for your next workout. You can do this by getting a massage, stretching, or doing self-massage with a foam roller or "The Stick," a special type of massager that runners adore. Massage and stretches help to increase blood flow, range of motion, and eliminate toxins. By decreasing muscular tension, you can increase your ability for greater output in the days to follow.

Rejuvenation


For writers, you have to take rest days too. Children's book author, Jane Yolen, suggests doing character sketches, journal entries, title lists, or other such types of writing. Not every day has to be spent working on your novel. Remember to take rest days! Other types of rest for writers that can help increase productivity include physical rest and mental rest, not just writing rest, meaning that you DO something physical to take a mental break from writing. Or you do something you love to give yourself a mental break.

Physical Rest

  • Go for a walk or a run.
  • Garden.
  • Do chores.
  • Take a fitness class.
  • Go hiking.
  • Yoga or swimming.
  • Sex

Mental Rest

  • Go shopping.
  • Read a book.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Bake cookies.
  • Spend time with family.
  • Cook a new food/meal.
  • Take a trip.
  • Pray and/or meditate.

Productivity


The point is to take a writing, or fitness, break. Repair the damage. Get unplugged. Rejuvenate. So that you can return to your work feeling refreshed and ready to put out more work. So that you can take that stubborn chapter to the next level. So that you can feel more productive. So take time every day, every week, every month to unplug for a few minutes. And when you get back to the work at hand, you'll be glad you did.

What do you like to do to unplug? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

BACK TO TOP | READ MORE POSTS

Monday, January 16, 2017

HOW TO WRITE A REVERSE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION

Whether you believe in New Year's Resolutions or not, whether you make them or not, you should consider reverse engineering. Buddha said, "No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again." This is true. But you can also look past the beginning to make it happen.

HOW TO WRITE A REVERSE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION | "No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again." - Buddha | quotes about resolutions

In One Year and Out the Other


Yes, in one YEAR and out the other. Funny, I know (I didn't come up with it), but hopefully your years are filled with much, much more than empty promises and unfulfilled goals. THIS year, put your goals IN and let them continue going right into all the other years to follow.

Reviewing the Past


The first step is to learn how to review the past. Not so much in comparison to what goals you set and whether or not you reached them. Just review the past year. See how you did. Look at all the GOOD that happened. No downfalls allowed. No BUTs allowed. You wrote two new manuscripts? Awesome! Include it. Don't let yourself say, "But my goal was ten." That's not allowed.

What DID you accomplish? Did you land an agent? Did you revise a manuscript 20 times to near perfection? Awesome! Include that too. Did you attend a writing event? Did you run a new race? Did you take a fun family vacation? Did you overcome impossible odds? Overcome a bad habit you once had? In what ways did you grow, and learn, and achieve? Lay it all out there. You know you're awesome. Get it on paper. Or at least out in the open. Say it aloud.

Back to the Future


When you review the past, it is helpful to write it all down, but not necessary. But now we're getting to the nuts and bolts of how to write a reverse New Year's Resolution. And this part, my friend, you must write down. It has to do with dreams, goals, faith, love, happiness, feelings. It's like a vision board in words. Words make it even more real. Write a journal entry for December 31, 2017, as though it has already happened. That's the secret. As though it has already happened.

"Don't worry about the HOW, worry about the WOW," says Mike Dooley of TUT.com. Start your journal entry off like this, "This past year, 2017 (or whatever year you're doing this for) was the best year ever. I accomplished so much! It was amazing! I sold two books. It felt like I was on top of the world. Like I just finished a 2-mile run, but could have kept going for 10 more."

You get the idea. Have fun with it! Whatever your ideal life looks like, include that in your reverse New Year's Resolutions, as though it has already transpired. Whatever you want to have happen in your life, write it down. Don't write that certain things happened in certain months, just that it happened. Everything you write may not happen this year. But you'll be surprised at the end of the year at how much you did accomplish. Focus on the feelings of love and happiness and joy. How will each event, each accomplishment, each hurdle you overcome, make you feel? And that, my friend, is how you write a New's Year's resolution that won't leave you feeling like you gave up before the first day of Spring.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! What is one thing you would LOVE to have happen this year? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

BACK TO TOP | READ MORE POSTS

Saturday, January 14, 2017

EPISODE 09: YEARLY WRITING AND RUNNING RITUALS

What I really meant to say in the video is explained with more accuracy below. After all, they are completely unscripted and off the cuff.

Yearly Writing and Running Rituals | Do you know why you write? | writing habits | rituals for writers


Running Rituals


Every year, I look forward to going to at least two races that I plan a year in advance. My races of choice are:
  1. The Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10k in Charleston, SC at the end of March or beginning of April each year
  2. The Writers Who Run 10k Trail Race, in Fontana Dam, NC each June
Having this race ritual gives me something to look forward to - and train for - all year long. Not that I'm training all year, mind you. But the dates are scheduled into my calendar. It's an experience I can't re-create on my weekly solo runs. These races are the highlight of my year, in terms of running. "So cool."

Writing Rituals


Just like the Canadian geese I mention in the video, when we have annual events we return to year after year, it's a way to return to our roots. My annual writing events are:
  1. The Writers Who Run Retreat in June
  2. The Carolinas SCBWI annual conference in September
These events are how I keep the ritual of writing and running alive all year long. The anticipation and excitement of creating your own writing or running rituals can help you stay close to the "why" of what you love to do.

What annual rituals do have in place? Share in the comments! #SOCOOL

Keep on keepin' on...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WIN FREE TUITION TO A WRITER'S RETREAT

Let me ask you a question. If someone gave you a free writing retreat, would you take it? If so, now's your chance to win a trip to NC! Of course, you'd be responsible for your own airfare.

Win a FREE Writing Retreat in NC | writer resources | conferences | retreats | trips | working vacations | contests

Rural North Carolina


Imagine being with 47 other writers... and making friends that you'll cherish forever. You'll explore the mountains and trails. You'll eat S'mores. Visit the Fontana Dam and take a tour of Fontana Lake. This place is magical. Who cares that it's 3 and a half hours from the nearest major airport?


Rejuvenating, Educational, Productive, Social


With 8 faculty members to meet and learn from, you'll be able to revise your manuscript with renewed vigor. Two roundtable critique groups will give you direct and specific feedback on your first two chapters. Each evening, we'll be social... with journal making, swimming, boat tours, and a book signing party and book character costume contest.


Adventurous, Thematic, Charitable, Braggable


Two-mile trail runs each morning. A themed race: dress up like a book character! Great views! And get a medal. BLING!


Who will you invite to come with you? Instead of sharing in the comments below, share the emails of three close friends when you sign up for the contest and get 10 extra chances to win!

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, January 9, 2017

WHAT TOP 3 CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS A WRITER?

This is an ongoing writing survey I began in 2016. I've gotten some excellent feedback so far, but would love to grow my reach to include more input. I'll update the data as we go along.

Top 3 Challenges Writers Face | writing tips | author advice | how to grow as a writer

Success Means Different Things to a Writer


I love the feeling of completing a first draft. It's like the Muse is your best friend. Unfortunately for writers, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle of success, and writing a great book is just one of those pieces. What are your biggest writing challenges? I'd love to know your challenges, dreams, and goals!

Sign Up For My "Go, Writer, Go!" Newsletter


When you sign up for my newsletter, I'll share the results of the survey thus far. I'll start you off with an instant download of my most popular tip sheet: Six Surprising NON-grammar Writer Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur Author AND HOW TO AVOID THEM.

During the first few weeks, I'll send you a "Go, Writer, Go!" message every few days. After the first few weeks, I'll send you an email about every 20 days. Not too much, but not just a few times a year, either. Write Wild!!!

What's your #1 writing challenge that you currently struggle with right now? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, January 6, 2017

EPISODE 08: PREPARE FOR PROGRESS IN YOUR WRITING AND RUNNING

So far in 2017, my goal of blogging two times a week has been successful for week #1. This week's insight focuses on preparing for progress. Enjoy the short video. As always, run safe and write wild.

YouTube video | writing and running | how to prepare for daily progress | careers for writers


What ONE thing can you do to prepare for your goals? 
Wear a long-sleeve shirt, a short-sleeve shirt, check the forecast? 
Have a list of questions ready to ask your dream agent?

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

ROUND UP: BEST BLOG POSTS OF 2016 (TOP 5)

If you saw my last post about my New Year's resolution, you'll know that I only posted a measly 21 times in 2016. I had wanted to do a Top 10 Posts of the year, but I don't have that many to choose from, so here's my 2016 Round Up: the top 5 best blog posts I shared with you last year.

5 Best Blog Posts of 2016 | writer tips | author advice | new year's resolutions | blogging for writers

This year, my goal is 2x a week. And one of those will be a video. Easy peasy, right? Hopefully!

  1. Types of Nonfiction in Children's Books
  2. What's the Difference Between Writing Workshops, Conferences, and Retreats?
  3. Classic Toys for Summer - 40 toys that don't require batteries
  4. The Top 10 Writer Myths of All Time
  5. 44 Reasons to Be a Writer

What is one of your goals this year? Share in the comments below!

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SMALL GOALS ARE BETTER THAN BIG GOALS

If trying to write 5 pages a day, or 2,000 words a day, seems like too much, then make a smaller goal.

"My name is consistency. I am related to success." | quotes | productivity | consistent writing | author tips

My 2017 goals:


  1. Move for 25 minutes a day, no matter how slow.
  2. Blog 2x a week.
  3. Read more novels.

I started my blog in 2010.

  1. 2010 - Posted 143 times. Awesome!
  2. 2011 - 102.
  3. 2012 - 113.
  4. 2013 - Dropped to 78.
  5. 2014 - Dropped to 44.
  6. 2015 - Dropped WAY down to 27!!!
  7. 2016 - Even further... down to 21. Abysmal.

So, if I blog twice a week for 2017, that'll be 104 blog posts. I can totally live with that! Even once a week will be better than what I've done in the last 3 years. I can do this!!!

Small goals can give more wins and build your confidence faster. CONSISTENCY is key. Happy New Year!!! Here's to a successful 2017!!!

What would you like to be more consistent in this coming year? Leave a comment below!

Keep on keepin' on...