Jerry Seinfeld has a great method for being productive and getting results. If you’re a writer, grab a calendar and place it over your desk. For every day that you write something, put an “X” through that day. The goal is to make a chain of “X’s” that runs as long as possible. If you can fill an entire calendar month with “X’s”, fantastic! This becomes addicting after a while. I’ve only been using this method for a month, but already I can’t stand the idea of not putting an “X” on a day.
I’ve modified my calendar a bit. Every day has three boxes labeled with a “W”, “R” and “E”.
W = Write
R = Read
E = Exercise
It’s unreasonable to do all three in a day during every single day (the rare occasions that I accomplish it, I refer to as “Triple Crown” days), but if I can do some combination of the three every day then I’m happy.
Meditation is awesome.
I had heard for the longest time that the benefits of meditation were innumerable, but I could never get myself to try it. A friend of mine would speak at lengths about how he practices transcendental meditation every morning and how he wasn’t even sure if it was helping him. It just seemed so mystical and woo-woo to me that I unfairly dismissed it.
I was checking out an episode of the Random Show and they brought up an app called Headspace. Sitting down and meditating by myself? Not too into it. But “guided meditation”? That’s something I could get behind.
I downloaded the app and gave it a try. They give you 10 free lessons. Each one is 10 minutes long and each one builds upon the previous. I always imagined that for meditation to be effective you needed an hour or so of solid concentration. I can get behind 10 minutes.
I think there’s a lot of genius in the app. Obviously 10 minutes is an easy sell, but all of the other stuff that the app preaches is gold too, especially the theme of not fighting thoughts that start to creep in. The app constantly tells you to let thoughts come and go and not to worry about it. There’s even a section in each lesson where you’re encouraged you to let your mind do whatever “it” wants. There’s no pressure to have a singularly focused mind for 10 straight minutes and I think that’s key.
I’ve been waking up earlier, putting my earbuds in and firing up the app. The voice of the app, Andy, is pleasant, mellow and soothing. I’ve run through the 10 lessons three times now and I can honestly say that I feel amazing.
I’m handling my stress better. I’m energized in the mornings. I’m sleeping better. My focus and concentration are better. My creativity is flowing. All of this is boosting my writing. The ideas are coming freely and I don’t find myself getting distracted and wandering off to the dark corners of the internet as much.
I’m excited to see the long term effects of continuing meditation. Give it a try. Your health and your writing will thank you.
Stop beating yourself up. No one cranks out a masterpiece on their first try.
It can take years for you to become comfortable with your own work and then it could take years after that for you to become comfortable enough to put your work out there in front of other people.
It takes time and you’re going to get discouraged, but if you enjoy writing, if you feel like you need to write, then don’t give up.
You can’t choose to become a smashing success, but you can develop good habits that will put you on the road to success. You can choose to write every day even if you don’t feel like it. Even if what you’re writing seems like Garbage. All you have to do is sit down at the keyboard and put something down and the rest will come. In time.