By Kristin Granero
The holidays are behind us and 2018 is officially in full swing. But what if your writing stamina has yet to bounce back from all that time off or you find your brain (no thanks to cold temperatures) t is stuck in hibernation mode? This can be especially troublesome for freelancers who don’t have the structure of a 9 to 5 and need to work harder to create it at home.
Robin H-C, a behaviorist and bestselling author of the Life’s in Session book series breaks down six quick and easy tips for getting back into the writing groove and having your most successful year yet.
1. Designate a “Work Area”
If you’re having trouble focusing, try staying in one place. “Choose an area to work from and make a rule that whenever you sit down in that spot, you only do work. No internet surfing, no social calls—you are programming your mind to be unconscious by allowing only one activity to reign in that location. If you find you’ve engaged more frequently in distractive behavior, for whatever reason, change locations,” says H-C.
2. Set Aside Work Hours
In addition to designating a specific writing area, try setting aside the same work hours each day. “The brain works on patterns and has strong neuro-association. With repetition, you can consciously choose areas and time frames where you’ll eventually be both productive and unconscious. This is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practice of training yourself to associate a particular space with a predictable outcome,” explains H-C.
If you can’t set aside the same work hours each day, at least try to set aside blocks of time. “Schedule blocks of uninterrupted time for attention-focused tasks and complete them in a morsel of the time. So much energy is wasted when we’re multitasking and then must become reacquainted with our focus,” advises H-C.
4. Cut Out the Noise
A big part of cutting out distractions is turning off the TV. “Neilson speculates that, by the time you are 70, you will have consumed and average of 12 years of mindless TV watching. Become choice-ful and conscious of how frequently you plop yourself down in front of the television when you could be working on your next masterpiece,” says H-C. The same goes for checking social media and scrolling the internet.
5. Choose Distractions Wisely
If you must watch TV or check in on your profiles, do so strategically. “Intentionally choose to engage in the programs or other entertainment you like so that you feel fulfilled while avoiding the sedentary trap of watching re-runs or whatever is up next,” says H-C.
6. Fully Commit Yourself
Last, but certainly not least, if you find you’re having trouble figuring out what to write, write anyway. “Writer’s block is simply the process of judging everything your write such that you stop writing. The key to avoid this is to not feed yourself the story and write anyway. Commit to writing without evaluating the content. Most writers can write for a while before they reach a place referred to as ‘flow,’ where it gets easy and you connected to your topic,” advises H-C. Try starting with an outline or thought-starters to help organize and kickstart that flow.
Kristin Granero has 10 years of experience in journalism and digital media, having written for publications like Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Women’s Health, and Teen Vogue, and managed social campaigns for TV networks like HBO. When she’s not exploring the latest industry trends or serving up tips for Ed, she’s searching for the latest and greatest guac in New York City.