Three Essential Life Hacks For Writers

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Being a writer can be glorious. There’s nothing like being shoulder deep into writing a story that is engaging, entertaining and awe-inspiring. For some writers, this is a rare experience because, usually, most of their time is spent knee deep in doubt and frustration. But, whatever your plight, I’ve learned that in order to be even ankle deep into a story, there are Three Essential Life Hacks a writer needs in order to produce any work consistently.

Space

This one seems like a “no-brainer” but you’d be surprised at the number of writers who have no real physical space in which to write. They will try and toil away at their craft in a park, on a train, or in the car. It can be possible to write good work in this way but not ideal. If you really want to see progress in your writing, you must find your writing a place of it’s very own. Whether you write on a laptop, desktop or a by hand, your writing needs its own space – both literally and figuratively.

You see, by giving your writing it’s own personal physical destination, you’re more likely to demand of yourself the “psychological space” it needs to sprout fruit. A few years also, I finally succeeded in starting a consistent workout regimen after having attempted and failed many times the previous year. After the third time, it clicked – I had the “will” but not the way. You see, I needed to make it as convenient as possible for me to workout. In my case, it was a question of opening of the space in my mind to say, “hey, why not just go to the nearest place, workout for just ten minutes and see what happens?” And it worked! I started with ten minutes, then fifteen, until I reached fifty minutes and decided to level out.

So, clear away some space! It can be a small corner inside your place, inside the local coffee shop but it should be a place you have daily access to – without hassle. This will ensure that you will be able to create that space in your mind that will make you want to show up consistently.

Time

Once you’ve cleared the space in your mind, it will need good old Mother Time to ensure you’re able to clear your schedule and complete your brilliant new show. But not so fast – this part can be a little tricky. If you’re like most of us, there never seems to be enough time in the day, as it is, but carving out even just thirty minutes to create that sensational new pilot or screenplay can go very far in aiding your endeavors.

The trick is to do writing— and only writing — the entire thirty minutes. Now “outlining” is writing. Figuring out “plot points” is writing. But looking at pretty dresses on Amazon is definitely not writing! If you don’t think you have enough time to write, try missing your favorite tv show or forgoing one routine daily activity for just one week and use the time to write instead. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Idleness

So, you’ve managed to find some time in your schedule. You have a quiet and comfortable space. You sit down to finally tap out that glorious story in your head and…nada, nunca, not a damn thing comes out! Don’t fret. Happens to every writer at one time or another. Especially if you haven’t written consistently or written in a while. It just means you have to take some more time to settle in to it, goof around, be idle for a while.

It’s like you’re an old car that needs to be warmed up a little in the morning before driving. Just remind yourself not to panic. Every creative knows “there’s an art to idleness.” It can be useful as long as it is focused. For instance, if you have an idea for main character who suffers from epilepsy. Try researching the history of the disease. Or perhaps, you’re interested in writing about a Napoleon French-era love triangle. Then you might want to research Alexander Dumas’ contemporaries work.

Or you may find yourself just sitting and doodling. Whatever it takes to get warmed up, just go with it and resist the urge to fight it. Fighting it will just make you become frustrated and unfocused. Unless… you’re writing about a frustrated and unfocused character. On second thought – try it – you never know what brilliant work may come. The important thing is that you now have the space and time to see what happens. Happy Writing!

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Lavetta Cannon

About Lavetta Cannon

Lavetta Cannon is a nerd/writer/improviser living in Los Angeles where she is in training to become a “cougar.” She loves eating carbs and all things Japanese. When she’s not listening to a plethora of podcasts, she is watching an inappropriate amount of television. Follow her on twitter@lavetta_cannon or on instagram@lavettacannon.