Can peace and productivity go hand in hand when you are a writer? I believe they can. When you write from a place of knowing you are already loved by God and wanting to love others well, it’s possible. But how do we get there from a practical standpoint?
- Know your why.
While it’s fun to see your name in a byline or on the cover of book, I don’t recommend that as your core motivation for writing.
Ten years ago, when I got serious about writing, I asked God to help me discover my greater “why.” One that would propel me through writer’s block, the comparison trap, and rejection. He led me to Isaiah 61:1, and that’s where I found long-lasting motivation: “to set captives free.” He also impressed this upon my heart, “And I want to start with you.” In other words, God wanted me to use my words to set captives free, but He wanted to set me free first.
We are often baptized in our message. Writing comes with a cost…of time, resources, and discipline. God loves us too much to let us speak from a place that we haven’t first lived and walked out. He desires greater freedom for us and for others as we are refined through the writing process.
Spend some time with God; ask Him what your why is. This will motivate you to keep going when you face obstacles along the writing journey.
- Set a deadline.
Look at your calendar over the next several months and set a realistic deadline to finish an article, book proposal, or make significant progress on a manuscript. Not only set a deadline for yourself but tell it to your family and a few friends so they can hold you accountable. You might need to set up some progress checks along the way to stay on track as your deadline approaches.
Consider this fun tip I learned from speaker and author Lee Nienhuis: when you complete an article or a chapter of your book, go do something fun to celebrate. It might be taking a friend or child out for ice cream, or picking up a bouquet of flowers, or going for a nature walk. Celebrating significant progress will keep you motivated to finish what you started.
- Protect your writing time.
If you’re going to meet your deadline you need to protect your writing time. Do what works with your personality. Maybe it’s setting aside an early morning or two during the week to write, or maybe it’s getting away for one Saturday a month. Don’t schedule appointments or outings then; turn your phone off, put a “do not disturb” sign on your office door, or go to a designated location with minimal distractions. Set a timer for 60 minutes and don’t stop writing until the timer goes off.
To do the deeper work of writing a book chapter, you will likely need at least three hours of uninterrupted time. If you can’t find that kind of time in your current season, do what you can to write in the cracks of life: during a child’s sports or music practice, in the waiting room at an appointment, or on your lunch break.
Your writing will never get done if you just wait for schedule to be freed up or you only write when you feel inspired. Take your writing seriously by putting healthy boundaries around that time. Little by little, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter, you will get there. Cue the confetti!
You CAN increase your peace and productivity as a writer when you know your why, set a realistic deadline, and protect your writing time each week.
As the Inspiration Doula, I coach creatives by giving them a pep talk, a workable plan, and accountability along the way so they can finish their writing projects. I look forward to connecting with you at the Speak Up Conference in order to help you get unstuck so you can finish your creative work.
For more tips on increasing your peace and productivity head over to Katie’s website and sign-up for the free “Stress Less, Smile More” video series.
Question: What is your “why” for writing? I look forward to reading your comments.
About Katie Reid
Katie M. Reid is the author of Made Like Martha, and A Very Bavarian Christmas (which is being turned into a movie). She is the co-creator of The Digital Peace Pact and the Check Your Selfie coloring book. Katie is a dynamic speaker, worship leader, and co-host of the Martha + Mary Show podcast. As the Inspiration Doula, Katie helps writers and speakers bring life to their projects through her coaching services. She loves to hold the ladder so others can climb higher and shine brighter in the Kingdom. Katie and her husband, Adam, have five kids and live in the middle of Michigan.