First things first

A popular self-discipline theory is to work first, play second. The idea is to get the chores and tasks and projects out of the way so you’ve expended your initial burst of energy on the priority, and then whatever is left over is play energy. But many writers, pros and amateurs alike, treat their writing as “play,” knocking out the emails and the marketing and the calls and the busy work first (if you work from home, which I do not, that also might include dishes and cleaning the house). When those tasks are done then, and only then, do they “allow” themselves to write.

I am guilty of this myself. I know I need to write an article or a chapter in my novel, I know that is Priority Uno for the day, but the second my rear hits the chair I think, “Oh, let me just check my email for a sec.” Then boom, there’s a request that’ll just take an instant to handle, and it snowballs. Suddenly the mental energy dissipates and the writing gets the dregs.

Not good – for you, or your craft.

As difficult as it can be sometimes to ignore the other voices clamoring for your attention, if your writing is a priority, it is crucial that you give it first attention of the day. Write first, then the rest can flow from there. Don’t even open your email inbox or check your voicemail. Just tune out and give your creativity priority.

Set a time limit, if that’s tough – until it’s done, you won’t check your texts or get a java refill or whatever gets you off-track. Or set a time limit – only write for X hours, then you can do Y.

You’ll find your writing becomes more efficient, more focused and more vibrant.