As a writer, my day usually begin at a quiet place, where I won’t be disturbed for a few hours. That place, is my luxurious home office that overlooks a well-manicured lawn and manmade pond. It’s where my rather large, oak desk houses my state-of-the-art Macintosh, PC and printer. I have e-fax facility. In the far corner, sits my 42” plasma TV, Tivo and DVD player. Two corners of the walls are adorned with books from ceiling to floor, to reflect the business I’m in. This quiet place is where, every day, I focus and attack whatever burning subject I will write about.
Next, I light a scented candle to clear the air of unwanted influences and sanctify my space. It’s very important for me to take a moment to truly connect with my writing energy, and to get a sense of my day ahead. I then take deep, slow breaths of air, drawing in and letting releasing without strain or effort. I repeat this until I’ve reached a deep sense of relaxation. Once I’m in this tranquil state, my fingers, on its own accord, flow over the keyboard with such ease I know I’m going to produce yet another killer article.
As a writer, I do work from home. Most days I wake up buzzing with a fantastic topical idea. I have no doubt in my mind that I could turn it into a huge copy success. But then I meandered to another idea that has nothing to do with writing like I need a credit card with a lower interest rate, and what should I do for dinner, and another idea and another idea. By the time I get to my desk, I check e-mails and respond to personal ones that I promised not to check until lunchtime. I’m like a magnet drawn to the window of the world. I then remember that credit card so I go on line to check my credit report. I spot a mistake and before I know it, I’ve spent the next hour trying to get through to the credit bureau to query it. They place me on hold so I write on my blog about how difficult it is to get through to them and periodically scroll up and down the draft article I have to finish by the end of the day.
Getting nowhere with the credit bureau, I hang up frustrated. I click on web links from one of the many writing links I’m affiliated with, who bombard me with the hundred-and-one ways to manage my home business, get readers to my web page, pitch to magazines, make more money on the Internet, find more freelance work and the list goes on.
Did I mention that throughout this process, I stuck a quiche in my mouth and ribs in the oven, made umpteen mugs of tea, visited the loo (toilet tissue for non British readers) on several occasions – I keep the loo roll business in top form! There’s an idea. Perhaps I should write an article about the loo roll business. I note this on my blog; then delete it. I’m not giving that idea away.
Perhaps I should write an article about procrastination because, isn’t that what I’m doing? Alas, such an article has been done, but hey, I’m creative. I could take a different slant and put another spin on it. I write a post it note to self. How many times have I done this? Many times, sure. I have the little gremlins in all colours and sizes plastered around my Mac. It’s the only way I can keep up so as not to fritter away little gems. I don’t advocate this method; it doesn’t look pretty, though it works for me. Note to self: write article on effective note keeping.
Okay, so I used to live a disheveled writer’s life. It was me who distracted me from being productive. There were times that I felt like a plant without water – withered. I needed momentum, exclusive momentum, so I shifted psychological gears, and rebooted my whole approach to meeting deadlines and writing more.
I learned over the years to be more disciplined and am able to distinguish the difference between ‘paid work’ and procrastination. Believe me, I’ve had the red flag, or was it a checkered flag, waved at me many times.
How did I do it? I chanted momentum, momentum, momentum. Seriously, I did. I had to find a rhythm that suited me and so I did an autopsy on my daily habits. I had a heart-to-heart with myself really.
What obstacle is in my way? Why am I procrastinating?
I found that there wasn’t any real obstacle. Yes, I had a litany of things to do, but there was no sane reason why I couldn’t accomplish them. I needed to prioritize, so I reviewed my ‘bad’ working habits.
- I made a list a mile long.
- Next, I mulled over it to come to a decision as to what my return on investment (ROI) would be. With that in place, I needed to set a time remit for each task.
- I got my calendar out and separated short and long projects.
- I transposed my list into my diary, breaking the tasks down over daily, weekly and monthly periods.
That way, I was able to see clearly how my working days would be best used. Of course, there are adhoc things that would come into play, but with a structure and guide, I should be able to my time much better.
Since then, I’ve been productive, I make more money and soon I will be sitting in my luxurious home office that overlooks a well-manicured lawn and manmade pond, where my rather large, oak desk houses my state-of-the-art computer….
© 2009 Cherry-Ann Carew
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