Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Do your habits hold you back?

They say old habits die hard. For me that is especially true. Have you ever moved a clock from one wall to another? How many times did you look at the blank wall to check the time only to remember the clock had been moved?

This week on American Christian Fiction Writers, they are discussing habits, both good and bad, that either rob us of our time or make us more productive. I examined my writing habits to see which ones should be eradicated and which ones I need to adopt?

One habit that I start every day with is logging into Spark People—an online community for those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle—and logging my fitness minutes. You get Spark Points for time spent working out. Once I’m there, I check out the challenges for the day, see how my Spark Buddies are doing on my teams, and posting encouragement to newcomers.

Nothing wrong with that, but if I’m not careful, in no time at all an entire hour has slipped away. I do the same thing when looking for blog ideas. Other blogs are so darn interesting I have to stop and read. I convince myself it’s for research. After all, I need to see what they’re doing to attract so many visitors. The same goes for Facebook and Twitter. Before I know it, it’s almost eleven and I haven’t written a word.

The afternoon brings its own challenges. I usually eat my lunch around one. I look forward to that hour all day. I nuke something and plop down in front of the TV for some downtime. One episode of The King of Queens turns into two and then I watch an episode of The Office that I recorded last night. Or worse I doze off on the couch and don’t accomplish a thing.

What about my good habits? Hmmm. There has to be something. First thing every morning I watch Joyce Meyer, work out, and then watch another preacher from Singapore while I cool down before taking a shower. It’s after I get out of the shower that my routine breaks down.

I need to learn to apply the same dedication to writing as I do my workout routine. I worked out on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day because I didn’t want to gain over the holidays. Achieving my writing goals should be more important, or at least as much as keeping off the weight I had lost. While my health is important, my career should have the same priority.

Habits I need to incorporate:
1. Keep the TV off, especially during the day when I am home alone. What better time is there to write?
2. Prioritize. Each day is a gift. Don’t waste a moment of it.
3. Don’t answer the phone every time it rings. Not every call needs to be taken when it is convenient for the caller.
4. Write at the same time every day. Begin early and finish early so if something comes up I’m not behind in my work.

What about your writing habits? Are they productive or ineffective? What do you need to incorporate into your routine and what should you eradicate? It’s a new year—an opportunity to begin anew. Don’t lament the time wasted or what didn’t work last year. Move on, and move up.

Happy Writing

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