I don’t know about you, but creating content is not always a piece of cake. (mmnn, cake …)
See how easy it can be to get distracted?
Writing requires the actual use of your brain, not just the low hum of “On” required to zone out in front of your television.
It requires a little forethought, maybe some (at least light) planning, as well as a host of other factors conducive to churning out words on a page that make sense, and communicate your message to your audience.
However, there’s one little itty bitty thing that can save your ass every day of the week, not just in writing but in life. (Although let’s stick to how it applies to writing for today.)
It’s called common sense.
Or more accurately, using common sense.
I’m sure at this point you’re wondering what the eff I’m blathering on about, and what common sense has to do with writing. Patience!
Proper goal setting leads to success
Sounds pretty simple right? But how many of you actually go about setting goals up properly, and set yourself up to succeed?
It’s pretty easy to derail yourself (even subconsciously) if you aren’t careful.
In fact, we often set ourselves up for the exact opposite of success (that’s called failure in case you’re wondering) by ignoring the things common sense tells us to be true.
Common sense example #1
If you know that your ideal writing time can only occur when your house is quiet, and your house is quiet only between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm … Confuscius, erm, common sense tells you to schedule that vital “ass in the chair writing” time between the hours of 10 and 1, and plan everything else during your non-quiet hours.
That’s what my common sense is screaming at me right now, at any rate. Heh.
Ergo, use your common sense to schedule your writing time when you know you’ll actually have the quiet environment you need to get it done, and set yourself up to succeed in meeting your goals.
That means don’t schedule your mani/pedi during that time, or check emails, or balance the books, or anything else that can be done at any other time. Plant your arse in your chair and write.
You’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.
Common sense example #2
If you know you tend to get distracted by web surfing, or online reading, or social networks, common sense tells you to block those things out by whatever means necessary in order to get your writing for the day done.
So download free software like Write Monkey, or use one of those website blocking plugins, and cut off your access to those (admittedly enjoyable) distractions, so you can settle into the business of writing.
Sounds simple right?
That’s because it is. It’s so blessedly simple, we tend to just skip right over it and ignore our common sense completely.
In the meantime, you’re developing piss-poor writing habits that will haunt you for years to come if you aren’t careful.
See how easy it can be to derail your potential for success? Gotta be vigilant with your time, folks.
Common sense example #3
If you know hunger or thirst distracts you from writing, and you find yourself constantly up and down between your chair and your kitchen … common sense tells you…
Say it with me now.
Common sense tells you to eat something and maybe even prep a snack with drinks for easy access right next to your desk.
Then you can drink and nosh as you work, without completely disrupting your forward momentum by hopping up and running to the kitchen every 5 minutes.
You know that’s just a (very transparent) excuse not to get on with the bidness of writing anyway, so lay off, m’kay? Your bottom line will thank you.
Plus your mind won’t be muddled from low blood sugar, and you won’t have a growling belly or that wretched dry mouth making you chase the same thought around and around in circles, without actually spitting anything coherent out through your keyboard.
Sensing a trend here?
Common sense example #4
If you know phone calls and interruptions from family and friends are distractions that keep you from making stuff, common sense tells you to TURN THE DANG PHONE OFF!
Sorry, forgive my shout-y caps.
But this is really, really, really basic.
Just turn. it. off.
Or hit silent.
Lock it in a safe.
Hide it somewhere high that it’s a pain in the arse to reach.
Regardless of how you do it, don’t hyperventilate.
Remember that the really important people will know how to reach you no matter what for emergencies and the less important stuff can just wait until your writing is done.
Common sense example #5
Finally, if you have no idea where your time goes, no clue why your writing goals aren’t being met, and no clue where to start modifying things to set yourself up for success … common sense tells you to figure that shite out already!
Keep a journal, track your time, and write down every single thing you do in a day, big or small.
Do it for at least 48 hours and at the end of that time you’ll be able to see exactly where your main pitfalls lie, and exactly where you may have little pockets of unexpected time to write.
Then you’ll know exactly where you can begin making improvements to avoid sabotaging yourself. (And you thought you had no time. Pfft.)
See how an itty bitty little thing like using some common sense can help you reach writing success?
Sometimes it’s the smallest, most innocuous, and seemingly least important actions that create the most momentum.
Over to you …
Do you consciously or unconsciously derail yourself from achieving your goals, writing or otherwise?
Do you recognize where your potential pitfalls lie and where your potential for success begins?
Are you doing anything about it? I am. Let’s do it together.
Drop your thoughts in the comments below.
About the Author: Cori Padgett is a wildly hire-able freelance copywriter as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her biz blog Big Girl Branding. When she’s not engaging in dork shenanigans or writing words that matter for her clients, she’s on a rather absurd, misfortunately funny road to grace, bent on spreading a little salt and light to all and sundry. Nutshell? Dork by genetic disposition, writer by trade, lover by choice. Word.