What Gets Scheduled Is What Gets Done!

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The idea of writing book is a tantalizing one. If you’ve been around Inspira long enough, you will know we believe everyone has a message, story, or memoir to share. Maybe you are currently writing a book or maybe you like the idea of writing a book and you are sure you will write one  . . .  someday.

“Someday” does not exist. While we are at it, the vague “tomorrow” doesn’t exist either. These are words we use to dream and procrastinate. Only when “someday” gets changed into July 28th at 3:00 p.m. does it became a reality.

If you want to write a book, you need to actually schedule time to write it. (I know, this seems obvious, but we all need the reminder.) Don’t rely on inspiration. It is a beautiful gift when it comes, but it is unreliable.

Setting Deadlines

In order to schedule your writing time, you will want to determine the approximate length of your manuscript. Take into consideration that a shorter book may have more impact, as the shorter a book the higher the percentage of people who read it all the way to the end.  Suggested lengths:

Special interest non-fiction (40,000 – 50,000)

Business book (50,000 – 60,000 words)

General non-fiction book (60,000 – 70,000)

Fiction (75,000 – 120,000)

E-book opt-in (2,000 – 10,000)

When setting you deadlines and calculating how long it will take to write your book, consider the following variables:

  • Date you plan to start writing
  • Desired manuscript length
  • Words you can write on average per hour
  • Hours you plan to spend writing per week

Also consider real life situations like vacations, holidays, when the kids are in school, etc. Have a Plan A (finish the book in a year), a Plan B (write four hours a week), and a Plan C (write on Saturday mornings). Be optimistic and realistic. The fact that you are reading this blog means you are already one step closer than you were before!

Action step: 

This blog is all about taking tangible steps to completing your manuscript. Once you have determined your writing plan, write down your goal in a statement form and post it as a reminder. Example: “I will finish a 50,000-word manuscript on organic gardening by 11/30/2016.” Bottom line:

  • Schedule your writing time.
  • Don’t rely on inspiration to strike; appreciate the need for discipline.
  • Remember, what gets scheduled is what gets done!
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8 Steps to Creating Your Perfect Writing Environment

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Talk to 15 different writers and you’re likely to get 15 different responses to the question, “What is the perfect writing environment?”

Famed poet William Wordsworth did his best writing lying down, reportedly preferring to write his poems in bed in the complete darkness. (I’m not sure how he could see to write, but oh well, whatever works!) Novelists who wrote lying down include Mark Twain, George Orwell, Edith Wharton, Woody Allen, and Truman Capote—all known for churning out pages while lying in bed or lounged on a sofa!

Some famous authors, on the other hand, have preferred to write while standing, like Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and Lewis Carrol, who were all inspired to pen their finest pieces at their standing desk. Conversely, contemporary author Dan Brown apparently likes to hang upside down for inspiration, claiming that “inversion therapy” helps him relax and concentrate better on his writing.

If all else fails in your quest for inspiration, you can always write naked, like Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables. He  frequently wrote au naturel, especially when he needed to work quickly. (Maybe he found being cold motivational?) When facing a tight schedule for his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hugo instructed his valet to confiscate all his clothes so he wouldn’t able to leave the house. Even during the coldest days, Hugo reputedly only wrapped himself in a blanket while he wrote.

Regardless of your style, all writers need to establish a writing environment that is conducive to inspiration and productivity. The common denominators are: a) get comfortable, b) get organized, and c) get started. Here are eight practical steps to help you find your inspiration and get into the flow of your writing:

  1. Understand that inspiration doesn’t just show up; you have to cultivate it.
  2. Schedule your writing time. Remember, what gets scheduled is what gets done .
  3. Appreciate the need for discipline. You won’t always feel like it. Like Nike, “just do it.” And do it again. And again and again and again …
  4. Find a regular place where you can have solitude, a place free of distractions (including people, phone, TV, email, and social media).
  5. Get proper hydration, nutrition, exercise, and rest. These all contribute to you being your best self (and therefore tapping into your best writing).
  6. Surround yourself with things that inspire you (sights, sounds, smells).
  7. Leverage the power of habit. The more you follow a routine, the better your sub-conscious self will be able to cooperate with you, and more quickly get into “the flow.”
  8. Set deadlines for yourself if you don’t have external ones pressing on you. Pressure—even self-imposed—can be very motivating.

So there you go – eight things you can do to create your most inspirational writing environment. What will that look like for YOU?

This post  by Arlyn Lawrence  is fourth in our series on “What Inspires You to Write?” Check out the rest of the posts so far to see how our Inspira editorial team gets inspired: Heather, Kerry, and Arlyn

 

For the Love of Words: Kerry

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This is the third in our series of “What Inspires You to Write?” featuring members of our Inspira team. This week we hear from Assistant Editor (and certified world traveler) Kerry Wade:

For many people, writing is a means to an end. They have a message, idea, or story they want share with the world, and writing is their vehicle to do so. For me, writing can be an end in and of itself.

I love the world of words; or perhaps it is better to say the worlds that words can create. I am inspired by creative descriptions and phrases. If you were to look through my journal, you would discover it is not at all linear or cohesive. It does not detail the A to B to C of my day. Instead, it contains descriptions of flower petals and snippets of phrases torn out of conversations. I love perfectly paired words. Give me an exotic metaphor and I am good to go.

Most of my own writing is poetry, as it is the perfect medium for a lover of metaphors. It allows me to play with words without needing a context or a plot to house them. But there is something I love even more: helping others write. I am most energized and excited when someone comes to me with a great story and I am able to be a sounding wall for ideas to make it better.

As I went through the typical post-college “What do I do now?” phase, I realized that my favorite part of my writing classes was working collaboratively with other writers. I cherished the moments when we sat around a table in the library and threw out title ideas or pointed out character flaws. I got to use my love of playing with words to help others! That realization led me to what I do now, working as an editor for Inspira. While we don’t always get to sit around a table thinking of the perfect way to phrase a sentence (sometimes we do!), we get to help people take their ideas and form them into something beautiful.

So, when I am not snatching metaphors out of the air or throwing around title ideas, where do I get my motivation to return to my computer day after day? Although everyone’s sources of inspiration are different, here are a few of mine:

  • Good writing/art: Nothing makes me want to write more than reading a really good book. There are a few authors that keep I always on my shelf. I know that I can pick them up whenever I need some motivating and they will provide a breath of fresh inspiration. The same goes with good art of any kind. I believe excellence inspires excellence.
  • Passionate people: There is nothing more inspiring than someone pursuing their dreams and working hard to make them a reality.
  • Travel: I love the way it forces me to break all my routines, get out of my comfort zone, and do things I’ve never done before. I swear I work better when I have a ticket sitting in my inbox. When I know I will be traveling in the near future, I don’t mind curling up with my computer all day and writing.
  • Organization: After talking about breaking routines, I am going to come back and say that routine and organization are a Godsend. I cannot even begin to still my mind enough to write if my desk is a mess or my day is not detailed in my planner. (Although, I have to be careful not to use organization as a means of “productive” procrastination.)
  • Peace: Writing and editing take focus. If my mind is frazzled, my writing suffers. When I operate out of a place of peace, I am able to easily enter into that place of focus and flow. (Sometimes this means I have to take time to deal with the internal or external lack of peace in my life before I can write.) My ideal writing environment includes soft music, a nice smelling candle, and a cup of tea. While these things don’t create peace, they help usher it in.

What inspires you to write?