Guest Blog: Retraining Myself
Good morning! I'm happy to welcome Simone Anderson to my blog today, and she's brought us an article about how she retrained herself during a difficult time in her life.
by Simone Anderson
I have a lot of hobbies. A lot. There is always something to learn or do or try. I love research and solving puzzles. They can be handy. It provides with a creative outlet. A necessity for creative people. They’re also great distractions, as well as objects of procrastination.
Several years ago, life went from challenging to downright difficult, tipping the scales towards impossible more than once. When that happened, my hobbies started taking up more of my time, because I simply couldn’t concentrate long enough on my writing to deal with things. Dealing with some topics was simply not possible. But, with all of my hobbies and interests, I didn’t stick with one thing to make good progress in any one area.
I set lofty goals, thinking that it would motivate me to do more. To write more.
I wrote less. Because really, if I’m going to fail anyway, why does it matter if I fail big or small?
Then Brynn introduced me to the 15 minute writing method.
Anthony Trollope used it in the 1840’s to write more than 40 books before going to work of at the post office. He wrote for 3 hours every day in 15-minute intervals, writing no less than 250 words every 15 minutes.
Given an hour to write, I’d spend about 45 minutes screwing around. 15 minutes is short. It isn’t enough time to screw around. Given an hour in 15 minute chunks, I write. A lot.
I was still setting myself up for failure. In the process of wanting to improve my craft and a need to do something writing-related while I worked a crap ton of hours, I listened to podcasts. One of them was Writing Excuses.
I found things I needed or wanted or could use from every episode. The most powerful and life changing was listening to Mary Robinette Kowal tell how she went through depression and didn’t write for like a year. Getting back into the writing groove was difficult. You have to re-establish a new routine. It’s hard. Mentally. Her first goal was writing 3 sentences a day. Then a paragraph. Then a page and so on. I don’t write like that. I like the time thing. So, I re-set my goal to 15 minutes a day. I haven’t hit my goal of writing every day for a month, but I’m getting to a more regular writing schedule. And when things went side-ways recently, I changed when I write. Instead of after work, I write at lunch. And usually spend 30 minutes writing. It means no matter how late I get home from work, I already have my writing done.
The other thing I’ve found that I miss is a regular writing group and seeing my writing friends on regular basis. Partly for accountability and partly because, while I love my family, they really don’t understand how you can lose an argument with a character that you created. Or how you didn’t see that twist coming in your own story.
One of my favorite quotes is by Lao Tzu:
“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”
15 minutes a day. One step at a time.
Set a goal. Devote 15 minutes a day to it. It’s not a lot. It’s a start. It’s a step. First, take little steps, then take big ones. Find what works for you, truly works. Start small. Keep at it. Find people who are kind of headed the same way.
Thank you, Simone, for being here today and sharing this wonderful information! I'm so glad you got your groove back and I'm looking forward to some great new books from you!
Readers, you can find Simone at: