Six Ways to Go From “Maybe I Could Write About That” to “I’m a Writer!”|
We would all love to write more. Writing is the perfect form of reflection– on your personal life, your professional development, your thoughts on the world, political opinions, and just about any other thought that can flit through your brain. Sometimes, though, we just get stuck. It’s not complicated– and it happens all the time. We get behind. We run out of time and prioritize other things ahead of writing. Or maybe we don’t know how to be disciplined about our writing, get to the finish line, and it keeps us from doing our best work. Most importantly, beyond just writing, we need time to think about and revise our writing. This isn’t about having more work-I promise– it’s about being more organized around work.
Here are 6 ways to organizing your writing into a daily practice:
1) Separate time to brainstorm. Sleep on ideas. Write them down the moment you have them. Read related material, and read totally unrelated material. Then go back to your ideas when you’ve had some time to stew over them.
2) Have a conversation with someone else about your idea. Exploring ideas with others can make a huge difference. If you can’t meet or talk to someone, write an email to yourself and read it in 2 days (and reevaluate your social life-unless, of course, you are on a writing retreat in Guam). Your ideas will have evolved in those 48 hours.
3) Get ideas into some external form. Even if you don’t know what you’re writing yet, get it on paper. Sometimes the best ideas come out of journaling-or those free-flow exercises that make you cringe so much.
4) Make a writing calendar. Set up intentional time to start thinking about your writing projects. Take creative projects, and turn them into scheduled appointments. Don’t let them get missed!
5) Make writing social. Form a buddy group and make dates with others to share 1500 words with each other in a writing meeting. Or better yet, form a Google group and make your own online writing team (this works especially well for those Levo Leaguers who reside out in Montana).
6) Externalize your writing. Have a workspace devoted to writing projects where you can store notes on those projects. I have a physical inbox of index cards of your ideas and your writing. I separate my writing workflow based on the date it’s due, the date various drafts are due, and the date I will start thinking about the piece.
In my next piece, I’ll cover how to convert your writing into a following-the essential next step. Stay tuned.
Check out Erica Dhawan’s free Tools and Dance Moves for more on writing, leadership, and careers. Erica Dhawan is a leadership expert whose work with Gen Y change agents and future thinking companies changes the world. Find out more about her at ericadhawan.com and join her on an adventure at thegalahads.com. Follow her on Twitter @edhawan and Facebook.