Funny how blog posts sometimes fall into your lap at exactly the right moment! I was visiting Susan Toy’s blog and reading her weekly round-up of writing and editing tips , and my eye went to this post from the BookBaby blog: 6 Essential Tips for Your Own Stay-at-Home Writing Retreat, by Beth Barany.
With my Other Half about to head out of town for a couple of weeks, and a new project burning in my brain, and very few vacation days left at work (*sob*!), at this very moment I’m planning a stay-at-home writing retreat, so the BookBaby post was perfectly timed for me!
Along with the excellent advice to set manageable goals, plan in advance, and tell your accountability partners, from past experience I’d like to add (and I think these tips apply to any writing session, extended or otherwise):
1. Get off the Internet. If you write longhand with good, old-fashioned pen and paper, you’re golden, but if you prefer working on a computer (like me), try to use one without Internet access, or one that’s so slow that surfing the web is just a completely miserable experience (I thank my 5-year-old Samsung Netbook for this: it’s light and tiny and great to take to coffee shops, but completely useless for anything except Word and Scrivener). Or figure out how to turn off your wi-fi, or sign yourself up for productivity software like Freedom.
2. Put the TV remote control in another room. I’ve just started Season 3 of “Lost” on Netflix, after starting Season 1 about a week ago (BINGE-WATCHING, ANYONE?). I have a problem. The only cure for me might be to toss the remote out the window altogether, but I’m sure you have better self-control.
3. Get a writing talisman. I have a NaNoWriMo t-shirt that says “Writer”‘ on the back. If I wear it, I have to write; no letting myself off the hook. I have a couple of (next link slightly NSFW) writing mugs that I’m only allowed to use if I’m writing.
4. TREATS! BookBaby mentions this as well. My treats are usually cheese-based. I have a writing friend who gives herself gold stars on a chart whenever she achieves her goals. She likes to be able to see what she’s done.
5. Writing soundtrack. Make yourself a mix, maybe on iTunes or Windows Media Player, or burn yourself a CD, or find a music-only radio station (although that might mean logging on to the web, so WATCH OUT). For a new project, I need instrumental music — I have a “Writingscapes” mix on my iPod, with a lot of Miles Davis and Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Ros and classical (sometimes these are uneasy bedfellows, mind you). When I’m deeper in and I know my character(s), I make him or her a mix. Yeah, weird, I know, but you’re a writer, you get it.
6. Naptime. I find writing incredibly draining (in a good way). Make sure that after a good, long writing session, you have time for a good, long nap.
So what other tips and tricks do you have for getting your writing done, whether it’s a short or long stint? Help me, O Wise Ones!