Archive | December 2017

End of Year promises: Write Better, Exercise More.

Writers BlockIt’s that time of year again! The end, when we all always promise to do more or better. For the blog writers among us, it’s one thing to say: “I’m going to do more/ better.” Wait a minute – didn’t we say that at the end of 2011? A disciplined work ethic isn’t beyond anyone, but it can be tough to implement. Here are a few ideas that helped me. Hopefully you will find them logically correct, easy to implement and won’t stifle your creativity. They are exercising, list-making and writing.

Don’t roll your eyes! I know you probably promised yourself a fitter 2017. Did it come about? If yes, then read further to see how you can apply the same rules to your writing. If not (you know who you are), then think of the parallels between these disciplines, and how applying a few rules to your life as a whole, makes your decision-making better and easier.

When you exercise, you make the decision to do it. Whether its laps, circuit training, weights, swimming, or simply walking, you make the decision to get dressed up, leave the house and do it. There, now. That wasn’t too bad was it? Don’t think that you must do this for a certain amount of time, or a certain numbers of days of the week, you are doing it now, because you want to. The same could be true for writing. That awful white screen is not a block to your creation, it’s a help.  It’s welcoming, and says: “Let’s go, I am waiting for you.”

Don’t feel as if you have to write every day, over and over under some kind of restrictive regimen. If you are ‘too busy’ today, it means that there are too many things on your mind, crowding in on your creativity and internal discipline. Both exercise and writing helped me with this, because they are repetitive acts that channel my attention, and allow me the time to make lists. While you are working, if you have an idea, pause, write it down on a ‘to do’ list, and then carry on. Don’t get distracted, don’t ditch your current project (or stop walking), but organize your thoughts into what is important and, when you get back home, write a list.

Both practices mean that you are organizing your thoughts: A larger and more important ‘current job’ also allows your mind the time to make a list later. You can then get back to what is important; the current project.

Of course, now you have added another task, namely clearing the ‘to do’ list you have just created, but you have also added a layer of discipline to your day. You now know where your energies are: Completing the task at hand – either exercise, or writing – then devoting time to whittling that list down. The items at the top of the list are the ones that are most important, because they were on your mind first. Get them done, or make a first step, then write down the next task that is to be required, and move to the next task. Of course new tasks will be added, but those are for another day.

Strangely, both exercise and writing make for great companion tasks. Exercise when you get up, free your mind to think about the writing challenge to come that day. Then get rid of the sweat and muck, and start making that list. When you sit down to write, you will have a clearer mind and have at least a first line, or a premise, to start with.

Now, simply write; don’t procrastinate – write. Make your lists throughout the exercise. This includes answering those nagging thoughts in your negative mind: “This is an awful piece of writing, I should be writing about this.” That idea goes on your writing to-do list. Then, move on.

When your writing task is completed, start on the to-do lists, and get them completed. These lists will grow, but by daily application you will be clearing all of them, and adding to a fresh set of lists. You will find that by clearing your mind this way, you will prioritize better, and achieve more. As the first week progresses, you will find that you are feeling better, and are mentally sharper because of your exercise regimen. You will also be writing better, because your mind is clearer. Because your mind is clearer, you will achieve more in your non-writing tasks, and you will find some time on your hands. There will be a list of writing ideas waiting for you every morning, all around you is paid, up-to-date, cleaner, better.

More importantly, you will have followed through on multiple New Year’s Resolutions which makes you feel better all round. You will no longer have emergencies that come up and take you out of your routine, and must be addressed right then, they will have been taken care of by your list-keeping.

You will find out that the more you apply yourself to relaxation during exercise your mind will conjure up all kind of writing projects. Your clearer mind will help you to sleep better, and you will want to exercise. All go hand-in-hand, for a fitter, more organized, and creative New Year.