Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Getting Started: A Three Step Plan

I'm working at home today, so it was the perfect exercise in getting started.

Normally, I work outside of the home as a team leader of a 10 person sales team. There's no question on how I start: turn on computer, get started.

There's always something to do. Always emails waiting, always customers to contact.

So I transfer the techniques I use at the Real Life Job into my Writing Job.

Last thing first: start with the end.

Huh? Yep, the end.

Last night I cleaned off my desk and got it ready for my morning. No dishes left hanging around, no extra paper, no jewellery, no mail... just a clean desk.

So now I don't have the excuse of "I need to clean up first". Because I've cleaned up last.

Then I check email. I look for immediate responses required. Immediate action items.

Then I review my email and marry it to my To Do list.

And finally, I get started.

What I find happens with many writing mothers is that they don't treat this like a real job. Don't get me wrong, you don't HAVE to treat it like a real job if you don't want to. No one here is going to say that there's one way to do things. But if you want this to be your job, then you need to treat it like one.

So here's my three-step guide to determining your best way to start:

  1. Determine what your barriers are to getting started. (Clutter, distractions, noise...)
  2. Remove those barriers. (Sometimes this means that you don't get started until the distractions kids take a nap!)
  3. Plan to start in a logical way and begin definitively. Open up a word doc and start typing. Write a blog post. Write about your dream last night. Write a to do list. It's all about But in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. (Imagine how you feel if the muse shows up and you aren't at the keyboard, while the trick is to be at the keyboard before she shows up!)

Now, it takes discipline... sometimes more than we have. I used to believe I couldn't write without the TV on for "background noise". But in reality, I was just unwilling to try, unwilling to MISS something interesting. But since I began to turn the TV off, I have gotten a HECK of a lot more writing done!

1 comment:

Carolyn Erickson said...

It's a real job alright. One that I find I'm doing 24/7 if I don't watch it.

That's one thing I miss about having an outside job. When you go there, you *can't* throw in a load of laundry. One of these days, I'll honor my own office hours. Maybe. Then again, one of the reasons I work from home is flexibility.