Writer. Thinker. Strategist. Creative Tight Rope Walker.

A Regimen for Non-Paying Writing Work

iStock_000013109268SmallWhen someone tells me I need to commit to my blog, exercise, or anything that typically ends up involving a stop-start approach that we all do, I get hung up on the word, commit. What comes to mind when I hear being committed is four padded walls and a limited variety of crayons. Let’s just say it’s not a motivating word for me. There are good intentions there but they never really pan out because interest wanes in writing my personal blog due to lack of financial support for the content or just by the very nature of all the other things that dominate my time.

The truth is I let those other things take time away from any non-paying writing work when. I could make the time if I really wanted to and was ready to make it part of my daily regimen. I said the same thing about exercise not so long ago. Somehow I’ve made time and now are realizing those results. Two years later after making time to write every day, I also have my very first novel available for sale and the bulk of two more in the series waiting in the wings.

It’s just making that mental and emotional decision to do it regardless of the fact that no paycheck comes with it because eventually it will bring some type of payoff just like the exercise does. It’s just about the long-term payoff rather than the short-term delivery.

To get back to non-paying writing work, I’ve done the following:bookcover

  • Schedule a block of time every day either first thing in the morning (typically around 4:45-5:15) or last thing before I go to bed. Both tend to involve a fuzzy brain but those are the easiest times to fit them in when the bulk of the day gets dominated by others’ expectations.
  • Remove all distractions during this time (cough social media cough) and write stream of consciousness rather than worry about wordsmithing everything.
  • Contain any freak outs if and when falling off the daily wagon of writing for no pay. It’s going to occur so it just means starting right back up with no excuses or guilt.
  • Start making a list of ideas about content as things come to mind. Keep running log in a to-do app on your phone for those moments when creativity actually strikes. It’s never a convenient time (aka, middle of the night, while driving, and/or in the middle of a conversation with someone) but try to hold that thought until you can get to your app or old-school yellow lined pad of paper.

Like exercise, this daily regimen of keeping my own blog up felt painful at first not to mention getting back to Mindscape Book 2 editing (at this moment since I’m restarting again today!). Over time, the pain goes away and is replaced by an enthusiasm and preference over other paying work. That’s why it’s important to just make yourself do it so you can reach that pleasure point. It will happen. I’ve been there many times before and writing this now is a reminder that I’ll get back to it once more.

Just don’t tell me I’m committing though because I might ask you for a weekend pass.

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