- Okay to take five?
- Sure. Why not take ten? In fact, you’ve worked so hard recently, straining those creative sinews, why not have the rest of the day off…
What a great boss. Caring, considerate, never pushy. Always ensuring you never finish that novel.
Working discipline can be the hardest habit to instil when you’re your own boss. And as everyone knows (er-hum), being creative is the hardest work there is, it’s so easy to give yourself a break. Or five. The temptations are, of course, infinite: (insert any long-put-off, unimportant job around the house.) And it won’t really matter if you take the morning off, will it? The world won’t mind waiting a few more hours for your genius prose. It does matter. Those little days off you give yourself will seep into your motivation like a corrosive acid. Writing needs to become a habit. It needs to occur regardless of mood, energy levels, that thing called life what gets in the way.
A successful writer once said he only wrote when he was in the mood, and that he made sure he was in the mood at nine every morning. (A related post on ‘writer’s block’ coming soon. You can probably guess that I’m not a believer.)
A good strategy, essential I find, is to allocate a specific period of time each day to write. This maybe only an hour. Maybe three. The important thing is to commit to it. You then do nothing else but click keys or scribble furiously. This time should become sacred, free from all interruption. Much of your output will be rubbish, but it’s vital to establish this habit. You will soon overcome the terror of the blank white page, developing an almost monastic urge (is that an oxymoron?) to write each day.
Obviously, you’ll be engaged in other writing-related activities the rest of the time – research, observation, revision. But you need to be hard with yourself during the writing period. Post period rewards, usually taking the form of beer for me, can help.