So many people say the same thing. “If I could only find the time…” Thing is, time isn’t down in the couch cushions hanging out with loose change, the TV remotes and stale Cherrios. Time isn’t hiding. Time is everywhere.
And THAT folks is the problem.
Time is everywhere and all around and so we tend to waste it. People who are successful have the same amount of time. Difference is? They use it better.
Monday, I gave Ten Ways to Go Pro and I happened to mention the writing sprints we do on W.A.N.A.Tribe (a Ning I created for writers). But, because I didn’t want to derail the point of Monday’s post, I didn’t exactly explain what precisely we DO on W.A.N.A.Tribe.
I created W.A.N.A.Tribe so that writers all over the world could connect and share and network. There are all kinds of tribes to join or even start. Even if a tribe hasn’t been particularly active, hop in and type something and it springs to life like a jar of sea monkeys 😀 .
Have questions about self-publishing? There is a tribe for that. Need feedback on romance? There is a tribe for that.
But the real strength of W.A.N.A.Tribe has been in our daily ritual of meeting and working together in the Main Room IM field at W.A.N.ATribe. They began as sprints for NaNoWriMo. In the beginning, the sprints were sheerly for word count and they were 30 minutes long. But, that was during NaNoWriMo and word count is the ONLY thing that matters in November.
Thanksgiving? You mean Day They Announce the NaNo Winners Day?
But the hard truth all writers face is that word count and “writing” is only a small part of what we do. At W.A.N.A.Tribe, the sprinters and I realized that about a week into December…namely because we all had 50K or more that was probably a mess.
Welcome to The Blackout
So I created what we call BLACKOUTS. Tequila is optional.
We meet in the morning and chat for a couple minutes and then I set a timer for 40 minutes and we all go dark until I call TIME.
Then we have to report back what we accomplished. This can be word count, pages edited, or pages of research read. Report back that you almost finished a marketing plan, you emptied your e-mail and answered all business e-mail.
But the Blackout is still very different. Writers are people and we are people who do not own a cloning machine…
…but our laundry and dishes do.
We use Blackouts for those things too.
I know I generally start writing at 4:30 a.m. I’m an early bird. Always have been. How my parents didn’t murder me as a child is still a mystery. I remember my mother forbidding me to get out of bed until the birds were awake. The second I heard one chirp! I was up and laying waste to the Cheerios waiting for the colored bars on the T.V. to change to Captain Kangaroo.
Yes, I am that old.
I do check in when I’m at my desk, so any super early birds? If y’all need to do a Blackout that does not involve losing consciousness back in your warm bed? I am there to help. This is to help those writers I KNOW cannot yet leave the day job, but who need that extra push in the morning.
Since many times I have already been writing 2-3 hours by the time the Blackouts “officially” start (9:00 AM CST)? I usually use them for other things, including housework.
As I also mentioned last post, I consume an insane amount of audiobooks, but I do this while I do chores. While my body is getting out of the chair to move around? My brain gets a break from creating and switch to absorbing/refilling. Right now I am on my third book of the week—The Everything Store and The Age of Amazon.
I did 75 loads of laundry while learning…a lot. There are all kinds of things I dread doing, but add in peer pressure?
Anyway, when I do a Blackout, my report back may look something like this:
Sorted all the laundry, got the washer and dryer going, folded two loads, listened to three chapters of a book while I did the dishes and then finally I emptied my e-mail.
I get WAY more accomplished when I have to focus. No more goofing off on Facebook, farting around on Twitter, or losing sense of time and place talking on the phone to my mom. I KNOW I am going to have at least ONE person I am going to have to face and if I just jacked around? Yeah…
Additionally I’ve noticed this type of activity attracts and keeps the hard-chargers. You want to be around authors who will push you to a higher level? Be around Maria Grace when she reports that over the Blackout, she wrote 1,400 words, started a newsletter, edited three chapters and cured cancer.
Trust me, your bar goes WAY higher.
Love you Spooky!
***We nicknamed her that because she gets so much done, well…it’s spooky.
Thus, in a Blackout, we get the energy and fun competition of a workplace environment, and there is the promise of a tad bit of chit-chat in between…by folks who WILL send in the flying monkeys if you don’t work your @$$ off.
A huge part of being successful as a writer is the ability to be self-disciplined and self-directed. Sure, I do fairly well at that on my own, but have been known to…SQUIRREL!
Wanna ride bikes? Play Barbies? I have a cat.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. Blackouts have really helped me maintain balance, focus and generate crazy productivity. Most of us actually can get far more accomplished than we realize, we just need to hustle. I have used Blackouts to do writing and then switched and used them for spring cleaning. I’ve even used them for a power nap. If I say I am going to rest for the next 40, I better do it (not clean up Hot Wheels in the living room).
If you join our group? Trust me. People are going to start asking questions if we don’t show. Meaning my attendance is usually pretty good unless I have appointments that have taken me out of my office.
I generally don’t do Blackouts in the evenings because I have jujitsu….or have blacked out literally from working all day. But any of you crazy cats who wanna give it a spin? We welcome you to join us!
What are your thoughts? Like me, a
re you decent do you suck at being self-disciplined but accountability makes it way easier? Do you feel you produce more with focus? Do you think you waste too much time? Are you struggling to get traction?
What are your thoughts?
Before we go, I’d like to mention again the new class I am offering!
How and WHY are we using FREE!?
Making Money with FREE! As a bonus for this class, my friend Jack Patterson who’s so far sold over 150,000 books to come and teach us how to ROCK the newsletter. Sign up before March 7th for $20 off. This is in excess of two hours of training and the recording (as always) comes with purchase.
Anyway, I really DO love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of MARCH, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.