02 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Key Stages to Any Writing Project – Day 2

It’s 6:38am and I just jumped out of bed filled with energy. People who have been reading my emails over the years will recognize a pattern. At least four times a year, I “stumble” upon a project that gives me energy. You want to be mindful of how you feel while you are engaged in specific projects. Make a list of the things you are working on right now.

For each item, answer the following question …..

Does this project give me energy or drain my energy?

Take it easy on yourself if everything you are working on is draining you. Eventually, you will discover a project that gets you up in the morning. My commitment to write a daily blog post for the next 30 days has given me a new level of energy. I feel optimistic about life as a whole and I’m ready to serve. Now, I must admit that one of the reasons I am feeling so positive this week is because I am in Atlanta delivering motivational seminars to High School students. One of my clients, Mentoring in Medicine, is planning a major event for 1,000 students to encourage them to pursue a career in medicine. The date is Saturday, March 26th in Atlanta. You can learn more at http://mimatlanta2.eventbrite.com/

Hey … wait a minute … I just “wasted” 10 minutes looking up the date for the above conference. In addition, checking Facebook reminded of another project. A big reminder to you and myself,

“BE MINDFUL OF DISTRACTIONS.

It’s a very powerful exercise to keep a time log and track every five minutes of your day. You can increase your productivity 10-fold by focusing on only once activity at a time. I did not have to stop and open my email to obtain the date for the conference. I could have easily left that space blank and continued writing. Always remember your primary goals and be open to changing your approach along the way. My goal is to write for 20 minutes per day and update my blog. I am already realizing that this project will probably take from 60 to 90 minutes per day. I am glad this distraction came up. It’s allowing us to have this conversation.

I tried to convince myself that I would only write for 20 minutes and post to my website. With several other pressing client deadlines, I truly did no want to start another project. But by Day 2, I realize that I was fooling myself. If you truly want to create a quality outcome you have to count the cost.

Don’t make my mistake. It’s important to consider all of the stages and requirements for your next project. I plan to change my approach and allocate my time in the following way:

1. Writing (20 minutes) – Just write non-stop. I plan to close all of the other windows on my computer and turn-off the cell phone. My only activity is to write NOT to think.

Hmmm …. I just made an interesting distinction between writing and thinking. The day before should be spent “thinking” to create your writing outline for the following day. I tend to be a “deep thinker.” I just enjoy thinking. As a child, I would get a beating for “thinking” too much at the dinner table. I now see how that tendency is distracting me from writing. When you are “writing” you should be just releasing what’s already inside of you. At this stage there is no need to try and develop any new theories – just write! Don’t even worry about grammar, spelling or key facts. There will be time to come back and polish up your writing. This paragraph just flowed. I did not have to force it. I was just writing!

2. Research (5 minutes) During this phase, you can open other programs and go online to find specific information that relates to what you wrote earlier. Make sure you don’t get distracted into checking your FaceBook page or reading email. Just find the information that you are seeking and return back to the writing assignment. If you are reminded of another urgent item, just keep a notebook handy and make note of that pressing to-do item. Don’t dwell on it. Write it down and let it go. You will have time to focus on that activity. For now, you are in the writing zone. Let’s stay with that!

3. Editing (10 minutes) Eventually, I plan to have someone else proofread my work. Hmmm … another interesting situation comes up. Who will I work with? How much will they charge me? What type of turnaround will they give me? I must admit that I’m kinda on the cheap side or should I say, “frugal.” I’m not looking to pay anyone to edit my work. That’s why I just love me some barter. I’m sure that there is a writer out there who would edit my work in exchange for the free publicity I will give them at the end of each blog post. Stay tuned …. Let’s see who I find.

I think it’s time to make a few distinctions between proofreading and editing. You should work with an editor before your start your daily writing assignment. The job of the editor to help structure your story in a compelling way. I am writing these blog posts in a diary type format with no real structure. I’m just writing what comes to my mind. An editor may suggest that I change the flow of this post in order to make it more impactful. A proof reader checks for spelling and grammar. I better name for this section would be: “Proofreading.”

After you are done with 20 minutes of writing, its best to allocate some time to read over your work and check for consistency. I like to get up from my the computer and engage in another activity before I start to proofread. This allows me to have a fresh set of eyes. You may want to exercise, grab something to eat or make a few phone calls. At the very least, you can stand up and walk around your room.

4. Posting (5 minutes). Its time to post on my website and Facebook page. www.Networkedblogs.com is a great tool that allows you to post your writing on several different social media websites. Remember to copyright your work. Speak with a lawyer about this process. At the end of each post I plan to add “© 2011 Small Business Camp” Get in the habit of adding your name or company at the end of each writing sample. I may also use a few different syndicated sources to send each post to a wider audience.

Oh, oh! …. I think I have another idea. How about convincing a major website to feature my articles on a daily basis. Oh my gosh! Now, that’s a BIG idea. It just came to me as I was writing the previous sentence. It’s always interesting how my mind works. I went from posting on Facebook to partnering with a major website. Stay tuned ….. Let’s see how this turns out.

Okay, it’s now 7:47am …. I’ve been at this for an hour. Need to eat breakfast and get ready for my day.

© 2011 Small Business Camp

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  • http://www.tbsusa.com Benita Tyler

    This was a VERY helpful post, Andrew. I really enjoy writing but am equally intrigued with information. So I can easily become distracted with research and the internet. Your suggestion to close all the windows on my computer while writing will make a big difference for me. Thanks!

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