It's hard to form positive patterns that help us gain the momentum we need to write new projects. I get it. I've been there. I've failed to complete deadlines and struggled to hold myself accountable during the pandemic. Now I think I've got into a grove that can also benefit you.
Below are five tips I've discovered throughout my writing journey that helped me move past mental blocks and feel good about my work day.
Let's Get Into It
One of my biggest hurdles was getting over my fear of putting pen to paper ( or finger to keyboard ) and finding the time to write. I always made excuses. The apartment needed to be cleaned first, or I was too tired from working a nine-to-five job that I absolutely hated going to.
Then the Coronavirus hit, and everyone in the world seemed to be finding extra energy to be creative and complete their art projects, except for me. Now that I had all this free time to do something I loved, I couldn't take advantage of it.
I struggled to find that inspiration, or will, or discipline, or whatever you want to call it, to move forward with my life, which brings me to my first tip:
1. Managing Your Anxiety
I was overwhelmed, and I lacked focus. I knew I needed structure in my life, so I asked myself some tough questions. I had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment that completely changed how I dealt with my anxiety.
I wrote a list of everything that bothered me and categorized them into two columns; "Things In My Control" and "Things Out Of My Control."
Seeing all my anxieties separated and listed on paper made these problems seem smaller and more manageable. From there, I focused on the things I could control, like losing weight or finishing my book, and I made a step-by-step plan to fix each one.
2. Choose A Designated Work Space
Designating a space to create your art will be very important, especially for those who work from home. It could be a kitchen table or a desk in the corner, but choose a place in your home to become your new 'office' and only use that area for work, if possible.
Why do this? Eventually, your brain will form a pattern. Your mind will register that you've entered work whenever you enter this space. You'll automatically focus on your tasks and start finishing your workload faster and without distraction.
3. Dress For The Job
Dress as if you're going into a professional office space. This rule is vital for those of us working from home. I realized very quickly that if I'm lounging around in my pajamas all day, I lack focus, and I soon find myself binge-watching Star Trek episodes instead of working on my book.
4. Leave Your Cell Phone In A Different Room
This step is essential for people who get distracted by Instagram notifications (I'm guilty of this) or those who want to satisfy their Candy Crush addiction. Go ahead and delete that game from your phone right now. I don't care what level you're on. You're wasting valuable mental space that you could be using toward writing your book.
Did you delete it? Good, I'm proud of you. We must eliminate our distractions the best we can. Candy Crush is our enemy!
5. Set A Timer And Take Breaks
I've noticed a massive improvement in reaching my daily goals by doing this. I put a timer on for 30 minutes, and I work until the timer goes off. Then I time a 10-minute break and walk away from my desk.
I'll stretch, grab a snack or refresh my coffee, and then sit back down and set the timer for another 30 minutes. I repeat this until my workday is over. This step helped me to stay focused and kept me on track, so I didn't burn out.
That's it, folks! I hope you find these five tips helpful in creating your routine. Happy writing!