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8 hacks to make sitting down to write your next 500 words 10X easier.
Mastery Den, Saturday Edition, 4-min read.
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Many of you have committed to spending a considerable amount of time tapping on computer keys to transfer thoughts to symbols.
(This is called writing ;)).
We do this for these reasons:
Bringing attention to our products and services
Tapping into our inner dragon
Growing our communities
Creating products like books
But writing doesn't always start off easy.
Having written and published things most days over the last fifteen years, here are some 'hacks' I use to hit my daily word count goals...
(Even if I don't feel like it)
Be mindful for a minute.
It's nearl impossible to dive into a writing stint if we're grouchy, frustrated or stressed about tomorrow.
Mindfulness is like pressing a reset button on our thoughts.
And when our thoughts still, we're also absent of the negative feelings prompted by such thinking.
Sit in pure awareness of your surroundings for at least a minute, and watch your creative spirit flicker to light.
Create a slightly obsessive writing habit.
The more of a routine you build for your writing, the easier each consecutive writing session will be.
This means repeatedly writing in a similar, reliable environment where you know you can get things done without distraction.
And you write at times that suit you best...
When you do this over and over again, you start to cement a habit.
And habits give you momentum, so the resistance newbies get diminishes, and you have words pouring out of you, more of the time.
Do some exercise.
Writing comes smoother for me after a walk or a gym session without fail.
Even a minute of star jumps helps.
The blood pumps oxygen and endorphin chemicals are released, putting you in a sharper and better mood.
I'm also going to throw in the need to keep our diets as clean and low carb as possible too.
If we're pumping and dumping insulin after a huge croissant, you better bet your creativity gets stifled too.
Good writing is tied closely to physical state, and if it's out of whack, you'll be staring at the screen for a long time.
Research for inspiration.
If I'm totally stuck on what to write, I will read and research.
I'll take a look at my own articles or tweets, for example, for inspiration. Or I may read some quotes from Goodreads.
I might trawl through some well-performing YouTube videos for header ideas.
I may also read a book, or read book summaries, like through Shortform.
Or I may look over some successful tweets from those I follow to see what they did, and see if I get inspired.
Often, I do.
Consumption at the right moments can quickly fuel you, trigger new insights, and put you in the mood to write.
Free write first.
"Writing without stopping is valuable because it makes writing visible. The words on the page show your mind at work."
One of the best things I do for getting into a writing state is to write whatever comes to mind rapidly. There's little judgment here, and the only aim is to type.
Free writing bridges the gap between two worlds:
The world of blank slate 'not-writing,' and the world of conscious writing.
Free writing gets you warmed up, and also opens the door to a deeper wisdom because we're relaxed. And this connects us to the best ideas.
If you don't know what to write, allow free writing to guide you to the ideas you need.
Write a basic outline.
There's nothing in writing that is hard.
It's only your resistance to the idea of writing that makes the process seem hard. Writing is composed of tiny, simple individual steps.
One of those steps can be writing a basic outline.
This might be something you put together after free writing and brainstorming.
With the outline in place, you'll be confident to dive in to create the full piece more quickly.
Get a timer out and give yourself, say, ten minutes to do something specific.
It could be that you time yourself to write utter nonsense on a page. That's fine. You're loosening up, and you want to allow yourself to make mistakes.
Timing yourself takes out all the guesswork and just forces you into action. This is what you need.
You could then give yourself another ten minutes to write your post out in full, followed by another ten minutes to edit, for example.
Now you're working in non-negotiable blocks, and you don't have time for excuses.
Do the small version.
For whatever you have planned, there's always a small version.
If you know you need to write a book chapter, start by writing the tweet version.
This takes the pressure off the writing, making for bold creativity.
Or you can write a one-line version. Then you might 'Snowflake Method' it, and expand the one line into five lines.
Now you have five lines to direct your wider piece.
And you're good to go.
As you can probably see, there is a trend emerging, which is to ease yourself into a swim via the shallow end.
When you do as most do, which is to hang around the deep end, too afraid to jump in, you likely won't jump at all.
A little about what Alex is working on...
I'm being my usual finicky self and making new commitments to new projects and cancelling others for the time being.
I've been a bit all over the place recently with all the promises about various communities and cohorts I've been giving, and you'll have to be patient with me sometimes.
I'm in a transitionary period in my life right now, and having given this a lot of reflection, I keep returning to my dream of writing many books.
I've been wanting to make a living writing books for over a decade now and never found a way in. I've written six or so books before but never found a way to make it a 'thing' that I can live off.
So I decided recently, that instead of creating communities (beyond our Telegram one) and courses and cohorts which takes me away from my love of writing (and drawing), I honour my love for writing more and - specifically - creating books.
...At least for the time being, so I can prove to myself I can do this without going poor.
So, expect more newsletters from me and more book announcements.
My plan is to write a ridiculous number of books over the coming years (fiction and non), so watch me make this happen in public. I may even see if I can write and release a (short) book per week after a time.
I believe I can make this work by focusing on writing and releasing lots through the year, combined with the clout of my newsletters.
I'd love to bring you guys in on this journey.
I may also introduce some kind of book-writing group over time.
I will share more about my book-writing projects here (building in public) on Mastery Den.
Thanks for reading.
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