Wednesday, October 19, 2016

5 Steps to Great Writing Habits

Edie here. I'm sure we all knave friends who are not only super organized, but can apply their organizational skills to others. Today my guest post is from just one of those friends - Cynthia Owens. She also has a new book releasing today that applies those skills to organizing our computers. Be sure to check out her book, ORGANIZING YOUR COMPUTER FOR WRITERS & SPEAKERS, previewed at the end of this post. Also leave a comment and be entered for a drawing for a copy of the book!

5 Steps to Great Writing Habits
by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

Have you ever been thinking about something while you’re driving and suddenly you’re heading home instead of going to the store? Your body shifts into a kind of autopilot and, before you realize it, you’re pulling into your driveway instead of the Wal-Mart parking lot. That’s the power of habits. They direct our lives when we aren’t paying attention.

So how are your habits affecting you? More specifically, how are your habits affecting your writing? Are they helping you be creative, meet deadlines, and inspire others? If you can’t answer with an enthusiastic “Yes!” maybe it’s time to create some new patterns.

It’s been said that up to ninety-percent of our day is decided by our habits. That’s a frightening statistic if we haven’t been paying attention to them.  The good news is that habits are developed. You created yours—and you can change them.

5 Steps to Great Writing Habits 

1) Recognize Your Habits - To cultivate good habits, we have to pay attention the patterns that currently exist. Think about the routines you follow. What do you do
  • First thing in the morning?
  • When you sit at your computer?
  • When you wake up on Saturday?
  • When you start to brainstorm?
  • When you come home from work?
  • When you begin writing?
  • When you start to edit?
  • When you get stuck, frustrated or bored with a piece?

Write down all these patterns.

Determine if you habits help or hurt you.
2) Determine If Your Habits Help or Hurt You – Now that you have a list, how well are these habits working for you? Most activities aren’t innately good or bad. It’s how they affect our lives or the lives of others that make the difference.

Perhaps you write after lunch each day. That’s your routine. Great. But what about those days when you eat a heavy meal? Do you find yourself drooling on your keyboard twenty minutes into your work?

Perhaps you do dishes after dinner. You feel frustrated because your writing project is waiting, but you frequently get new ideas for stories as you slosh suds over a dirty lasagna pan.

Which habits, or parts of your habits, make you a better writer? Which pieces need to be adjusted?

3) Make Small Changes – When looking at how to improve your habits, start with the easiest one first. Attain early success by giving yourself a short distance to move. Then pursue the next most reachable change.

Dave Ramsey, author of Financial Peace and noted debt-busting guru, shows the power of making small changes through his Debt Snowball. In this process a person focuses all his financial energy on his smallest debt, making extra payments until the debt is gone. That success spurs him to tackle the next smallest debt. Soon, he’s conquered multiple debts and the Debt Snowball is rolling.

If you recognize your unproductive writing habits but aren’t sure how to improve them, pick up one of these books:
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

They’re filled with examples of what good habits look like. Hint – If you’re in a hurry, try Austin’s book. It can be covered in a couple of hours and will give you good ideas. Twyla and Charles’s pieces are more in-depth, but well worth the time.

Celebrate improvements.
4) Celebrate Improvements – This step is frequently overlooked, but it’s so important. Take time to recognize the positive changes you see. Developing good habits, much like writing a book, doesn’t happen overnight. If you don’t appreciate the improvements you’re making, you’re likely to burn out. Then, there’d be no fire to light your writing journey.

5) Repeat – I always think about shampoo at this point. The directions on my bottle state, “Lather, rinse, repeat.” If we’re developing great habits then we “Assess, improve, repeat.” We go back to the beginning and keep refining the patterns we’re creating.

So, study what makes you a better writer. Develop habits in those areas. Then, when you have those times where autopilot kicks in, it will be working in your favor.

What habits are building you up as a writer? Which ones need a reset?

Remember to leave a comment and be entered into the drawing for a copy of the book!
Don't forget to join the conversation.

TWEETABLES
Do your #writing habits need a reset?@EfficiencyAdict on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

5 steps to great #writing habits - @EfficiencyAdict on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


Organizing Your Computer for Writers & Speakers
by Cynthia Owens

Organizing Your Computer for Writers and Speakers is a 32-page mini book packed with tips, practical advice and step-by-step methods to help writers and speakers take control of their computing spaces. What’s inside:
  • The 5 Core Folders critical to organizing a writer or speaker’s computer.
  • Tips on why your writing or speaking files are actually the third most important files you keep.
  • What information you should be tracking for your speaking engagements and why its so important.
  • How to easily organize and later find research documents you’ve collected.
  • Free bonus materials you can download to simplify your organizing process.

This #WorkSmarter Mini Book releases Wednesday, October 19th.

Organizing Your Computer Buy Link:
www.TheEfficiencyAddict.com


Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. She runs www.TheEfficiencyAddict.com, which specializes in computer training, business organization, career development and event coordination.

Connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Pinterest.

Twitter: @EfficiencyAdict
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/efficiencyadict

35 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post, Cynthia. My life has recently become busier and I need to develop new habits to help me keep writing. I hope I win your book but if not I'm planning to buy it!

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  2. Thanks, Martha! Hope this post helps you take positive steps toward your writing goals.

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  3. Enjoyed the article. And this sounds like a super helpful book.

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  4. Enjoyed the article. And this sounds like a super helpful book.

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  5. I wish you would come organize my life! :-) Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Haha! Thanks, Patricia. I'm actually going to be a regular guest blogger here at The Write Conversation starting in January. If there are organization topics you'd like covered, let me know.

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  6. Great job! You make it sound easy. I was impressed with your skills st CCC and continue to be. I'll get your book.

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    1. Thanks, Sharron. I appreciate that, and let me now what you think of the book. I'd love to have your feedback. Happy organizing!

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  7. Favorite cleaning products for my house has a shelve reserved just for them in the utility room. Your book, Organizing Your Computer is stationed to the right of my computer. It's been a helping hand that's been a dependable guide that I can no longer live without that makes cleaning my computer messes. Thanks for such a useful tool, Cynthia. Share on!

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    1. My pleasure, Carolyn. I want your computer super-efficient so you have plenty of time to write!

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  8. Thank you Cynthia! This is just what I needed after a serious derailment to all my habits and routines. I will take it to heart.

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    1. Derailments are tough, Danetta. Hope this article gives you a boost.

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  9. Real tips I can apply. I'll be reevaluating my habits. Thank you. As always, your advice keeps me on track.

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  10. Thank you thank you thank you! I so needed this article as God has brought some major life changes this year and I'm struggling to re-structure my time and get back into my writing groove. Can't wait to get a hold of the tree books mentioned AND your book, Cynthia! God bless!

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    1. Sounds like you're at perfect time to create new habits that move you toward your goals. Blessings on your work, Rene!

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  11. Excellent article. I do have some habits that interferes with my writing time. This inspires me.
    Congratulations on your book! It is your forte!

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    1. Thank you for the great tips, Cynthia. Organization is definitely the biggest weakness I have. My office is proof positive. Congratulations on publishing the book. I'd love a copy of it.

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  12. This is information that any speaker or writer can use. Thank you!

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  13. And celebrating baby steps to the "assess, improve, repeat" method here. Maybe I'll get it right by the time I'm eighty and ready for my next assignment. Thanks for a valuable post.

    Good to be in touch (even if only through cyberspace) with both of you, Cynthia and Edie.

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    1. Always good to hear from you, Judith. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. At last, help is on the way from the one who takes organization to a level most of us would not consider! Congrats on the book.

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  15. Great help for the struggling would be organizer. Thanks so much!

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  17. Cynthia, as one who is struggling with finding writing time and good writing habits, I will definitely be using these tips. Thank you!

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  18. I so need this. I must work my way through your five steps so I can become more productive as a writer.

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  19. I'm not sure I need this book.
    Hmmmm.
    Yes, I do need this book. ;-)

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  20. I knew you were on to me when you asked if we ever set out for Wal-Mart and end up somewhere else. Guilty. Buying the book. Great article, thanks Cynthia!

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  21. Great article Cynthia. I tend to be all or nothing in many ways so thanks for reminding me that small changes are important. I like celebrating too!

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  22. So excited about your book Cynthia! I'm working on these two questions: "What habits are building you up as a writer? Which ones need a reset?" Great tips as always!!

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  23. Thanks Cynthia. As always, you have blessed us with timely advice. I needed this.

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  24. Loved your post Cynthia.l need to focus on which habits I must revisit and develop in order to be a more intentional writer about doing more of what I love--writing! Miss you! Liz

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  25. Your book sounds interesting. Thank you for your helpful tips in this post!

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