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Effective Lunchtime Writing

So with Ulysses on the iPad I’ve started writing at lunch time. It’s not possible every day, but I grab my iPad, wander to a different part of the building, find an empty cube and sit for a while.

Get away from the cube

I sit down with only one rule: I have to write something. I can write a blog post, or work on a story, or whatever, but I have to keep typing. Not non-stop like with freewriting, but I know if I’m just sitting there surfing then there was little point in leaving my desk, I feel guilty and I get moving.

Write something…anything!

It’s a nice break, it helps clear my head if it needs clearing, or sometimes it will get me thinking. Engaging in a creative process that is unrelated to the problem I’m solving often knocks something loose that helps.

If I’m working on blog posts, I’ll start with one idea, take it as far as I can, then I do a CMD-N to get an empty sheet and start something new. If something has some value, I move it toward the top of the list. When I’m done with it, I add it as a post. If I don’t at the start, I will add a heading to describe the idea – it will probably end up being the post headline, or will be close.

Change subjects/projects if necessary to keep moving

Not having to figure out where to store things, or what to call them, or what tags or categories or whatever to put on them makes it much, much easier to just bang out some ideas. The barriers are lower and it’s freeing.
If I’m working on a story, I just look over the scenes I have, or open an empty placeholder – a sheet with only a sentence describing something that has to happen – and start writing. It might prove to be awful (ok, at this point, most of it is 😎 but I’m getting words down and it’s easy to hop around.

Breaking down the barriers is the aim. If I can get trick myself into writing just a little, it will turn into a lot. Eventually that will turn into a book.

If you’re not a full time writer and you’re fitting it in here and there like I am, give this a try.

1 comment… add one
  • Chuck Frey April 14, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Steve, your process sounds a lot like Srinivas Rao, author of the Unmistakable Creative blog and podcast (http://unmistakablecreative.com/). He set a commitment to write 1,000 words a day on whatever was on his mind. By his own admission, a lot of it was crap, but inevitably there were gems of brilliance interspersed in these daily journal entries. By sticking to this commitment every day for several years, he has built quite a business and now has an offer on the table for 2 books with Penguin Publishing. It’s great that you’ve found a tool that enables the process you described.

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