A new work week has begun, which means a fresh start. Maybe you’ve found yourself in need of a breather after this past week, or maybe you’ve been wanting to continue working since Friday afternoon. Whatever your situation, I hope you are in a great state of mind and are ready to move forward with whatever you are working on.
It is important that we as writers (or really anybody, for that matter) at least try to work in a frame of mind that is built around optimism, integrity, and variety. I think these three components are key to a successful work ethic:
– Optimism, because if you don’t tell yourself that what you’re doing is a great thing, then you’ll have far more trouble succeeding in doing it. Believe in yourself, even if at times it’s hard.
– Integrity, because if you don’t keep yourself accountable, then your work will suffer. And it shouldn’t even be called work, in my opinion…because you should love doing it. You hear people say ‘I love my job,’ which usually means they don’t think of it as a task. Don’t think of your writing as a task, but rather something you’re doing because you’re passionate about it.
– Variety, because if you keep the exact same schedule and do the exact same thing and think in the exact same way, your work will become stale…and you might not even realize it until it’s much too late.
So when I work, I keep these three things at the forefront of my thoughts, and I must say that so far I’ve been pretty satisfied with myself and my material! And part of it is that I apply them to small chunks of time as opposed to tackling what I’d like to do all at once (which can lead to bad quality work and eventually burnout).
For example, I don’t plot out what I’m going to do for the next month, season, or even a year. Sure, I’ve roughed out a plan that I would like to see happen (I’m talking mostly about a writing/publishing schedule), but I don’t stick to it exactly how I initially plan it. I specifically I don’t plan things out in great detail on purpose, because writing shouldn’t take on a rigidly structured schedule–it should happen naturally and in its own time. I take my projects a week at a time. And because I work in that fashion, I believe I am a better, more effective writer. I’m not saying that I produce great material because I work in this frame of mind (a first draft is always a first draft), but I truly think that it helps me improve my craft.
If you were to evaluate your work sessions (or work ethic, if you will) when it comes to writing, how would it appear? Then ask yourself this: how is it really? This can tend to be the deciding factor in whether you’re productive or not, which then translates into how good of quality your material is, to a degree. What I mean is this…
At times, I work at my desk for 5-6 hours a day, and much of that time is spent on “stuff” related to my current or most important project. However, it’s not necessarily the writing that I’m working on. I might be doing other things that perhaps I shouldn’t be doing at the time…because writing is the most important aspect of being a writer (duh). So, what appears to be a good work session is not really a good work session. It appears as such, but it is actually me beating around the bush, finding other things with which to occupy my time that should be spent writing.
When I catch myself falling into this rut, I take a break from writing (as should be done by all from time to time). Then when I come back to it, I am thinking, ‘I’ve had a break, now I have to get to work. No more [doing other things]…I need to write, and what I write will be great!’
Right there, I employed the OPTIMISM, INTEGRITY, and VARIETY I’ve been talking about. It really does help.
So again, ask yourself sometime, “How does my work session (or ethic) appear, and how is it really?” I bet you’d surprise yourself with the answer(s) you might find!
I hope this is somewhat relatable to you. And I hope that I’ve supplied something of a solution to this problem, if it is an issue you’re dealing with. Those are just my thoughts on the matter, and they may not have the same meaning or effect for you as they do for me.
Until next time,