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OTHER ITA SITES:
Confessions Of An Erotic Romance Writer: Getting My Groove
Few people understand the importance of a ROUTINE when making a pittance...er, I meant a living...as a writer. Where do you work? How do you work? When do you work? These are all questions a selling writer fields with every interview.
Here is the usual answer: I work wherever I am, as diligently as possible, as often as possible. This is my job and I must treat it as such or I will end up eating Oreos while watching Gilmore Girls.
Here is the real answer: Whenever I can’t think of something else to do...including watching Gilmore Girls.
Therefore, in order to write, I must create a routine–aka, RUT–so deep, so intractable, so unforgiving that I have no choice but to write. Sucks, but it’s true. No one (except maybe people whom I despise) actually LOVE writing. I love thinking about writing. I love having written. But the act of putting words to paper is a royal pain in the butt.
Therefore, I must create an environment where a royal pain in the butt is BETTER than the alternatives. In this way, writing is much like exercise. I mean I like the results, but do I really want to lift weights or run on a treadmill? Do I really want to find a new ways to write perky, kick-butt or find the right dialogue for scary villain guy? Heck, no. But I don’t get paid unless I write.
It takes three weeks to establish a habit. Therefore, the initial creation of aforementioned RUT begins with SET A DAILY TIME to create the groove. Write at the same time every day for three weeks. Could be for twenty minutes, could be for ten hours–whatever works for you.
Though I should say RUTS are really hard to create for ten hours. That’d be like waking up one day and saying, it’s time to run a 10k or put a wall around China. Possible, but do you really want to do that? Every day for three weeks?
Step two is to CREATE A DAILY GOAL. I choose a page count goal. I don’t get to nap or get a pedicure until I’ve written seven pages. One book it took me four months to have enough time for that spa visit. By the way, I recommend starting with a small daily goal then adding up. That’s much better than the way I did it of counting how many pages I need to write daily to make my contract. Panic also works wonders as an incentive, but I digress.
Many people set a timer for their daily goal–30 minutes, two hours, whatever. Unfortunately, I’ve found that a timer only times the moments when I sit in my chair. It doesn’t actually encourage written pages because there’s lovely distractions like e-mail and internet blogs. And that leads to the next step.
Step 3 – REMOVE DISTRACTIONS. I write in certain cafes specifically because they don’t have internet. I know people who have taken all games off their computer. Gasp! The alternative to this is to CREATE INCENTIVES. Bribery is alive and well in my rut-creation world. Finish two pages and then get CHOCOLATE! Whatever it takes. You may not be able to fit your hips into the author photo, but heck you’ll have published books that contain a lovely head shot!
Then finally–CREATE A TRIGGER. You know that fabulous moment when the words flow and everything is right with your creative world? Well, me neither, but I swear we can prepare for those moments by creating a unique trigger to reinforce a writing zone. Scent is a powerful tool. During your three weeks, burn a beeswax candle.
Pretty soon, smelling beeswax will leap you into the creative zone. Not a candle fan or afraid you’ll accidentally set a contract on fire? Coffee works fabulous for me. Smell coffee, engage brain. Taste a soy latte–yes, I really do drink those–it’s time for serious writing! This works in the reverse, too. Taste Oreo? Get ready for Gilmore Girls. Feel sexy lingerie...well, you get the idea.
The ugly fact is that a writer’s life must be filled with self-discipline. If you’re short on that, then either give up on having a paying career as a writer or find a way to mire yourself deep in the writing rut. And who knows, sniff some caffeine and you might just end up on the best seller’s list.
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Travel Part B