Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tips to Stay BICHOK: Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard

There are days that I don't want to write. I never know when they're going to happen or why. But they do happen and I have to force myself to sit down and write instead of acting on my impulse to run away to the hills and play with my friends. Here are some ways I stay BICHOK which might help you as you struggle with writing on the dark days or the sunny days or the "gee I really don't feel like writing" days.

1. Set a timer. Oh, what a love-hate relationship I have with my microwave timer. Still, it works. Like a charm. I set my timer for one hour. I am not allowed to leave the chair during that time unless a tornado siren blares. Even if all I write is one sentence, I have written it. It works. My daily goal is 3-4 hours of writing/revising/staring at the blank screen and bashing my head against the keyboard. It works. Sometimes it feels like forever until the timer beeps. But sometimes I find the timer's beeping a huge intrusion. Either way, I get words written and the story moves forward.

2. 100x100. This is a great way to generate words on a daily basis if you have a lot of other life factors interfering with your writing. Write 100 words for 100 days. That's a lot of words. That's like almost a story! Right? Write! Try it.

3. A very wise soul once told me that just touching the manuscript counts. In other words, don't walk away for days and expect to come back full throttle with new words. Your head has to be in the game or your characters fade. The story fades. And your enthusiasm fades. We all get stuck. The trick is figuring out how to get unstuck. On bad writing days, I tell myself, just look at the work in progress. Read over it. Revise one piece. Play with a new sentence structure. Brainstorm a scene. Anything to get those creative juices flowing. It's what I have always told the College Kid: think with your pencil in your hand. It makes a difference. Really. Try it!

4. Reward yourself. Anyone who knows me has heard about my typing for quarters which I totally took from Kelly Stone's workshop and embellished. She's awesomeness in the motivation of writing business. I love everything she has taught to me about staying in the chair. Here's the biggest thing: a writer paid herself a quarter per page so she'd meet her writing goals. Me? I take it a step more. Well, honestly, I have run the distance with this one. I pay myself a quarter for every hour I spend in the chair, for working out because a healthy writer is a strong writer, for every goal I check off my writing to-do list be it writing a blog, sending a query letter, pumping up my social media presence (more about that later). Those quarters add up!! I made a pretty tin, got a roll of quarters (I have added to the quarters over time), and every time I make a goal I drop a quarter into the tin. When the quarters are gone, I buy them back with $20 and $10 bills which go into a box in my office (be warned would be thieves-I have an Attack Cat and a security system). I pay for my conference fees and contests and other such writerly stuff with my accrued funds. It works for me! Might work for you. (Just don't tell the Physicist that I raided his change basket once because I thought he owed me a few quarters--make of it what you will).

5. Plan for a break. Tell yourself that you can take one day off a week to rejuvenate your mind and soul. Play. Have fun. Talk about real life stuff and not the people in your head. Meet new people. Go to a movie. Read a great book. Call a friend. Just give yourself permission to relax.

These tips work for me. Maybe they might work for you. Do you have any other ways to add to my "Bichok" advice? Leave a comment and share!


Stephanie Jones AKA Alicia Hunter Pace said...

what great ideas! You are always such in inspiration to me with the way you are always willing to gift others with ways to succeed!

Christine said...

Thanks Stephanie. This journey wouldn't be any fun if I were taking it alone. And I've been blessed by other people who have helped me along the way. Paying it forward is the best way I know how to honor them.

Have a great day!