Showing posts with label Writing Habits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing Habits. Show all posts

Preventing Distractions the Low-Tech Way

Distraction can be the number one enemy of a writer.  And when you sit down on the computer to write, distractions are plenty.  Check Facebook.  Check e-mail.  Do some marketing.  Surf.  Play a game.  Organize photos.  Defrag your hard drive.  Do research for your piece.  The list goes on.  All these have their place, but when you’re really trying to write—just write—they can cause problems.

My solution, when this happens?  Paper.  Remember paper?  And pens?  And pencils?  Yes, that old technology really helps when I’m having trouble concentrating.  There are programs to black out all the but your writing screen or prevent you from accessing the internet for a certain time.  But paper is a low-tech solution. 

It’s also ultra portable.  Paper works in a park, in bright sunshine, on a bus, all with no worries about electricity or battery life.  It works on a beach with no worries of sand or water damaging it.  It’s permitted during airplane take-off.  And it’s very user-friendly.

The downside of paper is that you later have to transfer all your scribbling to computer.  You can’t click and drag, cut and paste.  It takes time.  But if can easily make up for that in pure, distraction-free writing time to begin with.  

Try it.  You may like it.  

Melinda Brasher's short fantasy story, "Chaos Rises" is now FREE on Amazon (and everywhere else).  Her microfiction (38 words) recently won honorable mention in On the Premises' Mini Contest #25.  Read "Dusk" for free here.  Or visit her online at

6 Tips for Creating Healthy Writing Habits

Getting on track with your writing can be a daunting task, creating healthy habits can make this a bit easier.

1.  Anything that we do for 21 days becomes a habit, so step number one is to make a commitment to yourself and your writing -  give yourself this amount of time to develop your habit without feeling bad if you find you skip a day or forget, just get back on track and keep going as soon as you remember.

2. Schedule writing time. Yep, put it on your calendar and honor it like you would any other important appointment. Choosing the same time each day may make this easier for you - get up earlier in the morning, commit to working each evening, or during the kids' nap time.

3. Write no matter what. Sometimes all of us arrive at our desk without something to write - otherwise known as writer's block - pushing through this stagnation is the only way out. That means write something about anything. If you are unable to write the article, the chapter, or the poem - write in your journal about your inability to write and soon you may find the words flowing.

4. Remember to stay fed and hydrated. Water is your body's friend. So is food. Make sure to have some easy and healthy snacks handy and water beside you so that you can take a break and then quickly get back to your work.

5. Exercise. For some, sitting at the computer all day is normal. To keep from getting stiff, take periodic breaks to stand, stretch and walk.

6. Be distraction free. Make sure that you are clear about when and how long you will spend on the internet doing things unrelated to your writing - social networking, answering e-mails, etc. You may find it easier to keep your focus if you put in your time writing first and then get on-line. Also, writing time is not to be used to catch up on telephone calls.

Establish healthy writing habits and see you work propelled to the next level.


D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook.

Writing Habit & Tips with Maggie Lyons

I’ve been reading about the writing habits of famous authors and feeling amazingly out of it because I don’t have any extraordinary or weird practices. All I do to warm up is jump on a vine and swing across the creek outside my house while scoffing down a blood pudding. Okay, I know some may think the blood pudding a bit weird, but in Britain, where I was born, this is standard fare—well, almost. At least it’s not a drug like the Benzedrine and Seconal W. H. Auden is said to have swallowed regularly during his most productive phase, along with vodka when the drugs woke him up at night. And while we’re on this subject, the literary landscape is replete with druggie writers from Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her opium to Jean-Paul Sartre and his amphetamines, which he claimed helped him to think faster. Jack Kerouac’s amphetamine binges would last for days and resulted in his famous scroll of 120 feet of taped sheets of paper that he constantly typed until he had completed On the Road.

And drugs are the least surprising of some writer’s habits. Henrik Ibsen hung a portrait of his rival August Strindberg on his wall to push himself to the limit in his writing. John Cheever admitted to writing many of his stories in his skivvies. Marcel Proust wrote in bed in a windowless room lined with cork. Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he wrote—initially in longhand—lying down, puffing a cigarette and sipping a coffee. Vladimir Nabokov wrote most of his novels on 3 x 5-inch cards, and he stood up to do it, as did Hemingway. Gertrude Stein found poetic inspiration sitting in her parked Ford.

My writing habits can’t compete with all that weirdness—apart from my warm-ups on the hanging vine, that is. I sit at a desk in a room with windows to tap my computer keyboard as I drink ginger tea. When my prose begins to overwhelm me, I grab a handy tissue. If that doesn’t work, I go for a quiet walk down a rural lane, and if that doesn’t work, I leave the country.

Writing habits can be amazingly different for each individual, but one habit that appears to be common to all successful writers is practice. Talent is 10 percent inclination and 90 percent hard work. That goes for any skill. I taught piano for years, and told my students that daily practice was the key, even if it was for ten minutes only. For writers there’s another component to practice. You not only have to devote as much time as possible to writing, you have to feed your creative neurons by reading the best authors as often as you can.  And you can make that as creative a habit as writing—sitting in your clunker waiting for the traffic to move, standing up in your skivvies in front of a portrait of your archrival … you get the idea.


Maggie Lyons is a writer and editor who was born in Wales and crossed the pond to Virginia. With no regard for the well-being of her family and neighbors, she trained as a classical pianist. Then came a career of putting rear ends on seats—that is, orchestral management, marked by reams of marketing and fundraising writing and program note scribbling for audiences many of whose first priority was to find their names in the donors’ lists. Editing for academic publishers also brought plenty of satisfaction—she admits she has a fondness for nerds—but nothing like the magic she discovered in writing fiction and nonfiction for children. Several of her articles, poetry, and a chapter book miraculously appeared in Stories for Children Magazine and knowonder! magazine. She hopes her stories encourage reluctant young readers to turn a page or two.

A twelve-year-old boy named Vin, goes on a mission—reluctantly. He doesn’t share the optimism of the knights of old who embarked on impossible missions without a doubt they’d succeed. When magnetic compost heaps, man-eating bubble baths and other disasters erupt, Vin comes close to packing in the whole ridiculous business. He calls it Operation BS, his code name for a mission to introduce his sister to a boy she has a crush on. He doesn’t want to play matchmaker, but Meg’s promise to reward him with a David Beckham autographed soccer jersey is a decisive incentive.

Get a sneak peek of the book at

Her middle-grade adventure story Vin and the Dorky Duet is available as an e-book at MuseItUp Publishing’s bookstore (MuseItYoung section), on Amazon at, and as a paperback at Halo Publishing International at

How Do I Procrastinate?

I hereby dub myself “Queen of the Procrastinators.” How do I procrastinate? Let me count the ways.

Instead of working on my WIP:

·         * Yesterday I baked bread.
·        *  Today I cleaned my keyboard.
·        *  Once I even cleaned my stove!
·        *  I go grocery shopping.
·        *  I check e-mail.
·        *  I have lunch.
·           *  I do dishes.
And on and on…

I even took a class on procrastination once. No, not how to, but how to avoid doing it. I think I need to re-read my notes!

One thing the instructor recommended was to make an appointment with yourself. Every day from 9 to 10 a.m. (or whatever time you designate) I will write. Period. Nothing should interfere with this appointment. This is creating a habit, and most likely you will end up working longer, because you’ll find you’re on a roll.

Reward yourself for doing this. Even something that seems as silly as putting a sticker on your calendar each day that you write is a huge thing. I did this a few years ago and I found that if I had a day that interfered with my writing and I couldn’t put up a sticker, I was disappointed. I became determined to fill my calendar with stickers every day (except Sunday. It’s OK to give yourself permission to take a day off).

Some writers set a daily word goal. And maybe the reward for that is to check e-mail AFTER you’ve accomplished this goal. Or to go for a walk (that results in a number of rewards, mentally and physically). Or meet someone for coffee.

How do you procrastinate? And how do you overcome it?

Heidi M. Thomas

Reach More Readers: Go Bilingual

Soon my picture book, Tall Boots , will be available in English and Spanish By Linda Wilson  @LinWilsonauthor While presenting programs abou...