One of the biggest challenges I’ve noticed over the years with my students is persistence and discipline. Simply sticking with the process. Life happens and grand excuses arise. Things can feel so real and insurmountable. If you want to stay hyper-focused with your writing, these 8 tips will help you cultivate discipline.
1. Don’t write on the computer. Stop it, even if it’s all you’ve ever known. Just for now. This one day, or for the first 5 minutes of this one day. Remind yourself— your body -what it’s like to write from the hand with this thing called a pen. Don’t be rigid, try it, see what happens.
2. Don’t think, period. Rush into it (writing practice) after reading this blog post, grab your notebook and write for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes, or even a full hour. Write nonsensical gibberish crap, and be okay with that. Remember this is an initial draft you don’t even have to show to your pet gecko.
3. Furthermore, don’t think. Breathe. Spend time in silence every day simply breathing. Close your eyes and just be, with no agenda and nothing to do, nowhere to go. Breathe into your experience of the body in this moment and then this one, and yes this one, too. After 10 minutes open your eyes, pick up your notebook and write what’s present for you in this moment. What are you thinking, dreaming, wishing about? Get sensory, get specific, don’t worry if it’s good or bad. No such thing.
4. Calendar your writing time and set your timer. That’s right, make an appointment with yourself and stick to it, as if you would be fired or disgraced if you didn’t show up. Once there, set your timer and go for 5, 10, 15 minutes. Keep moving your hand across the page (preferably) or sprinkling your fingers along the keys without stopping for grammar, punctuation spelling, and syntax. Write with urgency. Write what’s there even if it sucks, is inappropriate, weird or twisted. Especially if it’s weird or twisted. Don’t stop until the bell rings.
5. Exercise and move your body. This will elevate your mood and energy and therefore your inclination to write. Do this consistently. Move beyond your comfort zone. GO and exercise even if you are sore from the day before; eventually it will go away. Stretch first, breathe into your body. All your ideas, wisdom, and creative brilliance is in there. It needs to be shaken loose via vigorous exercise.
6. Hydrate. With water. Lots and lots of water. Soda, organic sticky drinks, Jäger shots, and Guinness Extra Stout don’t count, as delicious (and distracting) as they may be.
7. Eat nutritious, organic, local, whole food. Learn to cook. Don’t be seduced by convenience when it comes to nourishing your body. Your body is your mind, your mind is your body. This is where inspired words come from; conscious breathing, clean water, good food, movement, reading, and song.
8. Read like a motherf*%#er! Read poetry even if you think you don’t like it. (See #1 and #2.) “Don’t think,” just go a get an anthology of poetry from the library and read it. Furthermore, read diversely and widely. Underline, take notes, rinse and repeat 1-8 daily. And enjoy the merry dance!
How do you stay hyper-focused on your writing or creative projects? Let me know on! I’d love to hear your ideas.
Albert Flynn DeSilver
Writer * Speaker
PS. Join me June 12-17 at ESALEN for a
Writing & Mindfulness Retreat
on the Big Sur coast: http://bit.ly/1RBx9JF