The San Francisco Writer’s Conference, and any writer’s conference I’ve been to, significantly inspires me to actually make the time to write. For three days you are surrounded by creative and awesome and quirky people who love to tell stories. Who love writing and words. My people. Sometimes I am in awe of how quickly I can hit it off with someone, just because we are the same kind of people. It’s wonderful and exhausting and I love it every year.
Many writers come to these conferences with full manuscripts finished, some already published, here to learn the tips and tricks of the trade. But for me, it always comes down to what Bella Andre, Mark Coker and so many others said and have said – Tip # 1 – Write. Just write and write some more. Just write a really great book/story.
And really, there’s nowhere to start but to write. To make it a habit every day. I am jealous of the writers that can truly spend hours and hours per day writing, or have the luxury of having writing be their full time gigs. So I tend to gravitate towards writer friends who have full time jobs and are fitting in their writing on the side. I’m sure that’s because I relate to them. That struggle is HARD. And it’s easy to say we’re too busy. To let so many “something elses” get in the way. Every year after the conference I have the best of intentions and every year, life inevitably gets in the way and I manage to just do a smattering of writing, several blog posts and suddenly Valentine’s Day and the writer’s conference is upon us again.
Some days I am appalled at how much time wasting I allow myself to do. How social media and email and google and texting and phone calls, pouring over my calendar, and even TV can suck me in and never let go. You sit down to make a grocery list or find a recipe and suddenly you look up and an hour (or more!) has been wasted.
It’s really time for that to change.
New Routine, New Habits. Both mentally and physically.
I’ve trying exceedingly hard to add some healthier habits to my daily routine: gratitude journaling, meditation, etc and I really like what Leo Baubata at Zenhabits says about starting extraordinarily small with them. The same will be true for writing. I can’t sprint out the gate saying “I’m going to get up extra early and write for an hour every single morning!” Just like someone trying to lose weight can’t suddenly decide they are going to the gym 7 days a week. Well…they can. But they won’t likely succeed. Starting slow and small…say 15 minutes a day…garners you a much better shot at becoming successful.
Some of my fitness instructor/fanatic friends and I recently started a group (and we are working on a blog!) to keep each other accountable for healthier habits. We were discussing Lent and what people were giving up – regardless of their religious status– and one of my friends brought up the idea of adding a positive habit during that 6-week time frame. Being a fan of focusing on the positive, I loved this idea. I knew that mine would somehow be writing related and SFWC only solidified this.
Of course all of this chatter is still my “planning” mind that I’m trying to get away from. Since this year I decided I’m all about DO – time to put that into real practice. But, because they way you make yourself accountable to doing is sharing what you’re doing, well here we are. Follow me on the Lift app http://lift.do/ to follow my progress (and to track your own habits!)
So here’s what my weekday mornings should look like:
- Wake Up – NO social media, email, etc first thing in the morning!!
- Feed kitties & Start coffee
- 5 min mediation
- 5 min yoga
- 15 min Writing
I know – 15 min seems really short. But it adds up. And if you start small, once the habit is ingrained, you can expand. Plus the beauty of starting small with habits? You almost can’t say no to doing them!
What habits are you trying to form in 2013?