Clear the Decks for Your Writing + a Downloadable Checklist

Back-to-school time is upon us. Whether you have kids or not, the end-of-summer, beginning-of-fall, time-to-get-organized energy is running high right now! 

(It also means we’re at or near that moment where the end of the year is in sight. Can you feel it? I’m feeling it.)

This makes this time of year pretty much the ideal for thinking about how, when, where (and why!) you’ll meet your writing goals for the year. Maybe you didn’t get as much writing done this summer (or year so far) as you’d intended. Maybe you did. If you’re on track, more power to you! If not, this is a great time to adjust your course.

For me, after losing my father in February and some unexpected health issues, I’m in a much different place than I’d expected to be, but I’m ready to take a big leap forward now. 

The fall Deep Dive Writing Intensive is a big part of this plan for me. I’m targeting making a big burst of progress on the sci-fi script I’m working on. I’m also looking ahead, knowing the holidays are coming, we have a wedding to go to, my 50th birthday is coming up (holy smokes), and my older son’s birthday (11!), plus flu and cold season, so I’m aiming to take action while the energy is here. 

In the first prep workshop for the Deep Dive, we’ll start with “Clearing the Decks” for our writing. We’ll meet by phone on September 5th to make our Clear the Decks plans so we’re ready to rock and roll on September 20th when we start writing in earnest. I’m giving you a special preview of this process (and a downloadable checklist!), so whether or not you participate in the Deep Dive, this will help you make more time and space for your writing. 

How to Clear the Decks for Your Writing

Clearing the decks for your writing is a fascinating topic because it can be such a slippery slope — I don’t want you to decide you have to KonMari* your entire home before you can write — you have to be mindful about how you approach this. So many writers put off writing until “everything else” is taken care of first, and that’s just not the way it works — in general. 

However, if you’re setting out to do a focused burst of writing, you’ll want to make some extra space in your life to make it work. The core idea here is to look for opportunities to streamline, clean up, eliminate, delegate, and clear out to make more room for your writing.

This is also an excellent opportunity to review your schedule for any “creep” that’s occurred, like extra commitments that have snuck into your schedule and make it harder have time or energy to write, or any back-sliding that’s happened with scheduling your writing time or your resolve to meet it.

Here’s a list to get you started thinking about the different areas of your life you might want to triage. (Hint: the key word here is triage! Again, you don’t want to try to handle everything, but systematically evaluating what might get in the way and proactively handling it is quite effective.)

Remember, the core idea is to eliminate or quiet things that might otherwise get in the way of your writing. You can use these questions as prompts to freewrite or brainstorm to get yourself started, and then use the checklist (below) as you work your way through making any needed changes. 

  1. Logistical Realm: What adjustments do you need to make to your schedule to make space for your writing? What events, guests, responsibilities, and commitments do you have coming up that you’ll either want to reschedule, eliminate, or decide how to accommodate around your writing? 
  2. Physical Realm: What do you need to do to make your physical space more conducive to writing, if anything? Is there clutter? Are there distractions in your line of sight? How can you take great care of your physical needs with healthy food, snacks, beverages, sleep, and exercise? Are any physical IRL materials for your book organized and ready to use? 
  3. Mental Realm: How will you reward yourself for writing? Are there any open loops you need to close or resolve so you can focus? How will you handle new writing ideas that come up during your writing time? How will you handle negative self-thoughts if they come up?
  4. Emotional Realm: How will you handle emotional challenges that may arise around your writing? How will you handle non-writing emotional challenges? What support systems can you put in place?
  5. Digital Realm: How can you minimize or eliminate digital distractions so you can focus on your writing? Is there any organization of your writing files you need to do? 
  6. Financial Realm: What bill paying and other financial tasks can you handle now or automate so you can prioritize your writing? Are there other financial tasks (like taxes) you need to handle in advance or plan to address when you’re done? 
  7. Relational Realm: How can you guide your family, partners, friends, and colleagues to respect your writing time? How will you protect your writing time from interruptions? 
  8. Spiritual Realm: How can you spiritually prepare to make the most of your writing time? What intentions and positive visions are you holding for yourself as you write? Are there rituals you may want to plan in advance?
  9. Writing Prep Realm: Is there anything you want to have prepped or completed BEFORE you begin your intensive writing time? Do you have a timeline in place for completing it? 

Download Your “Clear the Decks” Checklist Here

Click here to download your Clear the Decks” Checklist so you can make space for your own focused writing burst or get a jump on prepping for the Deep Dive. 

Join the next Deep Dive Writing Intensive.

Find out more and register here: 
https://calledtowrite.com/deep-dive

 

 

 

* From The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Meet Your 2017 Writing Goals, Part I: Clearing the Decks (and a Free TeleClass!)

It’s back-to-school time. For many of us, regardless of whether we have kids or are going to school ourselves, this means we’re both recovering from summertime and tuning into the back-to-school fall energy. Which is usually highly motivating and exciting. 

It also means we’ve hit that moment where the end of the year is in sight.

If you take the time to think about it, this is the ideal come-to-Jesus moment for meeting your writing goals for 2017 — far better now than to try to pull out all the stops on December 15th. Maybe you didn’t get as much writing done this summer (or year so far) as you’d intended. Maybe you did. If you’re on track, more power to you! If not, this is a great time to adjust your course.

Goal setting at the beginning of the year is often a magical, inspired effort. And by magical, I mean, magical thinking. Somehow, in the thick of the holidays and year’s end, it seems as if the year ahead will not be filled with… anything! We’ll miraculously have oodles of time. We declare that we’ll finally focus and achieve things we haven’t achieved before. And then January happens. Then February. And March. And suddenly it’s end of summer and we feel like we have whiplash looking back trying to figure out where the time has gone.

I know I was unexpectedly affected by illnesses for much of the winter and spring, various challenges with my parents’ health, as well as all of the political happenings. I didn’t have space built into my writing plans for any of those things. I haven’t stopped writing, but I certainly haven’t been as efficient as I’d intended. I’m okay with that. Life happens. But I also still want to make a solid stab at reaching my goals for 2017.

My Deep Dive writing intensive is a big part of this plan for me. I’m looking forward to making a big boost of progress on the sci-fi script I’m working on to help me jump start a broader push through the end of the year. I’m also looking ahead, knowing the holidays are coming, along with my birthday, and my older son’s birthday (10!), plus flu and cold season, so I’m aiming to take action while the energy is here. 

Here’s where I’m starting the process. I’m writing this “(You Can Still!) Meet Your 2017 Writing Goals” series to help all of us bring awareness to the fact that the year end is a heck of a lot closer than we think. (There are 80 working days between today and the end of the year, and that doesn’t factor in winter break vacations for those of us with kids.)

Today, we’ll talk about Clearing the Decks to help you meet your writing goals.

In the next three posts we’ll cover Revising Your Goals, Boosting Your Progress, and Setting Yourself Up For Success

Part I: Clear the Decks for Your Writing

Clearing the decks for writing is a fascinating topic because it can be such a slippery slope — I don’t want anyone to decide they have to KonMari* their entire home before they can write — so it’s worth being mindful about how you approach this.

At the same time, when I’m looking at doing a two week stint of intensely focused writing, I know I’m going to have to make some extra space in my life to accommodate that. So I want to look to see, are there places in my life I can streamline, clean up, delegate, and clear out to make more room for my writing (and for me!)?

This is also a great time review any schedule creep that’s occurred — in other words, have I taken on any extra commitments that I perhaps should postpone or eliminate? Have I back-slid on scheduling my writing time or my resolve to meet it? 

I recently led a free teleclass to go over all this in detail. (It was be recorded so you can still listen to the recording.) If you’d like to listen, click here to join my mailing list and get the recording details.

Here’s a preview of some of what we’ll be talking about — I’ll be sharing tips about each of these as well:

  1. Logistically: What adjustments do you need to make to your schedule to make space for your writing? What events, guests, responsibilities, and commitments do you have coming up that you’ll either want to reschedule or decide how to accommodate around your writing? 
  2. Physically: What do you need to do to make your physical space more conducive to writing, if anything? Is there clutter? Are there distractions in your line of sight? How can you take great care of your physical needs with healthy food, snacks, beverages, sleep, and exercise? 
  3. Mentally: How will you reward yourself for writing? Are there any open loops you need to close or resolve so you can focus? How will you handle new writing ideas that may come up during your writing time? How will you handle negative self-thoughts if they come up?
  4. Emotionally: How will you handle emotional challenges that may arise around your writing? How will you handle non-writing emotional challenges? What support systems can you put in place?
  5. Digitally: How can you minimize or eliminate digital distractions so you can focus on your writing?
  6. Financially: What bill paying and other financial tasks can you handle now or automate so you can prioritize your writing? 
  7. Relationally: How can you guide your family, partners, friends, and colleagues to respect your writing time? 
  8. Spiritually: How can you spiritually prepare to make the most of your writing time? What intentions and positive visions are you holding for yourself as you write?


Click here to get the free Clear the Decks teleclass recording.

 

And check out Part II, here: Reverse Engineer and Revise Your Goals, Part III, here: Boost Your Writing Progress (Or, How to Design a Writing Intensive), and Part IV, here: Setting Yourself Up For Success.

 

Make Massive Progress on Your Book (or Script!)

The upcoming two-week Deep Dive Writing Intensive starts on Wednesday, September 20th and the last day to join us is Tuesday, September 19th. Join us and get tons of support and accountability to make deep progress on your book or script. Find out more and register here

 

* The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash