Building a writing habit
Using calendar blocking to structure your writing and everyday life
My dream is to write a book, and I’m sure I will work in the long run. I have some good ideas stored, and I have written down my life story (Coming memoirs maybe?). But right now, I’m just building a habit of writing for 2 hours every day. If I’m not writing, I research the coming articles during that time.
For me, the daily routine of sitting with my computer has given me a new purpose and new self-worth that’s been really important. And it all started with the outbreak of Corona and my little online journal.
I use Calendarblocking to make my writingtime sacred because I really find it easy to be distracted/disturbed by myself or others. I have a planning session every Sunday afternoon/evening for the coming week. My time is divided into these types:
Writingsessions — Time for writing and/or research
Training — Running mostly, but I have started to some yoga too
Chores — Cooking, Cleaning, and Laundry
Of course, I could divide my time even more, but this is good enough for me.
I divided my session by using the Pomodone app (Pomodoro technique). I use blocks of 20 minutes with a 5-minute break. So for 2 hours, I squeeze in 5 sessions with the rest in between. To just sit and write and write is not productive at all. First of all, your eyes and brain get all burnt out. Second, you're more effective using the Pomodoro Technique. I have been using it for about 10 years now, and it’s been both a creative and productive accelerant. Before, I could sit for hours and hours without an end, and when I turned off my computer, I couldn’t even remember what I had done.
Finding your time
As important as zooming in on your writingsessions is, the same goes for finding YOUR time when the creativity is peaking. For me, a timespan before lunch or an early sleepless morning does the trick. I have tried other times, too; I once had a period when I woke up at 2 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. After about two hours of creative work, I could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I used that time for writing and editing photos. And then it was a perfect fit. Writing after lunch is not my forte; it seems my brain is recharging itself then.
So find the time when your creativity is peaking. I’m not an advocate of forcing creativity, but I know some people need to force themselves to be creative. Some succeed, others don't. So please never force yourself; creativity will find it’s own time and space.
I have found that my creativity is peaking after I have trained, so I try to squeeze in at least 3–4 physical pieces of training a week. Either boxing or running, running seems to be the best way for me to find my mindspace. Listening to music or a podcast can be just the trigger I need, and my best articles are written after a good run. I have recently started to do some yoga at home, and I feel it’s very zen and mindful.
Do we need a special time for chores? Yes, I think so. I tend to procrastinate chores, and then one day, I have to clean my apartment. Regardless of what routines I have, just chores are not prioritized. So about 3 years ago, I put in time in my schedule for them too, and viola ‘Bob’s your uncle’! So my advice to you is to make time in your schedule for them too.
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