LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

A Week of Writing in Austin

Writing is a passion, and it's one of the three pillars of my Life Plan. So I'm intentionally planning times of intense writing.

This is the second time I've gone out of town for a week of writing. There are certain things I do to make it a successful week...

  • I go where no one knows me and there are no expectations. I'm not going to disappoint anyone if I skip a meal or stay up late.
  • I find a place with a refrigerator and a microwave, and I stock up on groceries the first night. I don't want to have to stop writing to eat a meal.
  • I go "dark" for 3 to 4 hours at a time. That means I close my email application, turn email off on my phone, close Facebook, close Twitter, and turn off phone notifications for text messages. No distractions, just focused writing.
  • Then, I come up for air for about an hour at a time to eat, check email and Facebook, and sometimes go for a walk or sit outside for a change of scenery. After an hour or so, I go dark again.
  • I have a friend who can track my every step. He is able to log on and see the exact location of my iPhone at any given moment--and I've asked him to text or call me anytime he wants to make sure I'm with my phone. That keeps me focused and on the straight and narrow.
  • I also keep a Google doc constantly updated with my schedule and my whereabouts. My friend and my wife both have access to it. Writing down my schedule, and knowing others are looking at it, helps me continue to take steps toward my goal.
  • Once or twice during the week I'll go find a Best Buy or Buckle store to walk around in. It provides a nice diversion and a little exercise.
  • I don't listen to music or turn the TV on. I bring a fan to provide white noise in the background.
  • I have a goal of writing 8 to 10 hours each day.
  • I track my word count every day. Sometimes it feels like I'm not getting anything done until I see that I actually wrote 3,000 words in a day.
Those are my tricks--totally based on my wiring and personality. What do you do when you want to focus on writing or working on a project?