Module 1: The Writing Mindset

What it takes to become a good writer

Lesson 1 - How to Write Your Book

The first thing I do when I sit at my desk and open up my Macbook is I block access to websites.  Before I have a chance to check email, I'll start the "Self Control App", so I am not tempted to open up my browser.  I know that all the sites I normally view (Google.com, Youtube.com, Gmail.com, and certain blogs) are blocked so I have no choice but to write.

When you force yourself in this crucible, you are more likely to take action.  Sure, I could always pick up my phone and start checking on there.  But it's a hassle to get it since I'm now already sitting down.  I actually turn off my phones when I'm working as well.  This prevents me from getting distracted and going into reactive mode.

The worst thing for a creative is to have your phones, chat, and email open while you're writing or working.  It's a disaster waiting to happen.  You're pretty much giving people an invitation to annoy and distract you.  Since they don't have anything better to do than.  Keep in mind that most people don't care about your time.  They only care about their time.  You have to be firm with others.  Let them know in advance that you work during these times, and that you will get back to them, say from 3-4pm.  At first people will have a hard time with it, but they'll get used to it.  Even when working with clients, you need to be firm.  Let them know when you'll be available and they'll call you during those times.  It has worked for me and I save much time that way.

Once I block the websites using the app, I'll open up focus@will and start playing the music -- usually classical, or baraque piano.  I find that I'm able to get into a flow with these two genres.  Finally, I'll open up "Write or Die", set the timer to 60 minutes, and start typing.

Before writing I have some idea about what I'll write about.  It'll usually come to me while I'm doing my morning ritual.  While taking my supplements, drinking water, brushing me teeth, or whenever.  I usually spend an hour or so after I wake up to do my ritual and then and only then will I sit down to write.  I definitely feel the urge sometimes to go straight to my laptop, but since adopting this morning ritual, I have less of a desire to do so.  Usually when you do something for more than 21 days or so, it'll become a habit.

What do you write about when you sit down?

When you open your up word processor and are staring at a blank screen, what do you write about?  Is your mind blank?  Do you hope if you stare at the screen long enough, that somehow you'll magically get a flash of brilliance.  It's possible this could happen, but I find that sometimes you need some external inspiration.

If you cannot think of anything, then I suggest taking 5 minutes to brainstorm or do a free-writing exercise.

Free Writing or Stream of Consciousness

Set a timer for 15 minutes and write down anything that comes to your mind.  It could simply be about the fact that you're staring at a blank screen and don't know what to type.  It could be about how you should have done Yoga this morning, but you skipped it because you were exhausted from the night before.  Or it could simply be about observing the objects all around you.  Observing your emotional state -- how do yo feel?  Anxious? Equanamous? Depressed? Traquil? Bored?

Try this.

The Why Exercise.

 

Every time you make a statement, ask why?

For example,

 

I feel anxious.  Why?  Because I haven't finished my project, and the deadline is approaching.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish.

List what's on your mind.

What's there to do this week?

Remember, writing is a form of expression.  It's our minds way of communicating with us.  Most of the time, we don't know what to write about because we're blocked from within.  We don't know how we're going to.  We feel we have nothing to say or express, but that's simply because the conscious mind cannot process what's inside the subconscious mind.  The subconscious contains vast amounts of experience, knowledge that is ready to be called upon.  In fact, it's impossible for you not to have anything to write about probably for an entire lifetime because of all what's stored in there.  The key is to tap into that deeper part of yourself so that you can formulate those thoughts into words.

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