Look, I get it — you’re a creative person. You’re a writer, for Pete’s sake!
You want to tell stories and birth characters and create entire worlds. Maybe you outright begrudge the other things that modern writers “have to” do: building a website, engaging in social media, making book covers, compiling and uploading your book.
It’s all perfectly dreadful tedium for many of us, but you slog through them because they’re part of the “business” of writing in the 21st century.
The last thing you want to hear is that writing — the actual butt-in-seat, belly-to-desk act of writing — should be a business, too.
But, as unsavory as it may sound, there are plenty of good reasons for you to approach your writing sessions like you would a business meeting.
Writing Is Serious — and Sacred — Business
You may enjoy your writing.
In fact, writing may be the most enjoyable part of your day. It ranks right up there for me, and I hope it does for you, too.
But just because something is fun or fulfilling doesn’t mean it’s not serious. In fact, you might say that those activities that bring us joy should be among the most serious topics in our lives.
After all, there are enough irritations and stressful situations in the average day to send us screaming into the hills. We need whatever enjoyment we can squeeze from life, but if we don’t take those opportunities seriously and don’t protect them, “real life” will eat them up.
That’s precisely why we need to be so vigilant with our writing sessions.
And, by treating them like we would any important business meeting, we can impart to them the proper gravitas.
Schedule Your Writing Time
Scheduling your writing time is absolutely essential to achieving your goals. I have written extensively on this topic before, but scheduled writing can do all kinds of things for you, including:
- Preserve specific times for you to write
- Impart an urgency to your writing sessions
- Loop in other people to your plans
- Help you ferret out “hidden” writing opportunities in your day
If you’re not scheduling your writing time, particularly if you have an outside job, you’re not really serious about your craft yet.
Have an Agenda
Have you ever been to a meeting that has no agenda?
I’m sure you’ve been to plenty, and I’m also sure that most of them were a waste of time at best and outright train wrecks at worst. You can’t hope to get any real work done in a meeting or during sports practice or during play rehearsal if you don’t have a plan.
The same thing holds true for your writing sessions.
Know what tasks you’re going to tackle before you sit down to write, and your time will be well-spent. “Wing it,” and you might as well not even start.
Other big meeting killers are stragglers, at both the front end and the back end. You wait around for the late-comers to show up and then the meeting drags on as someone filibusters his point for what seems an eternity after the ending bell has chimed.
Over time, you can predict which meetings will start late and which will end late — they’re often the same meetings. Those are the ones you really start to dread.
The best managers and meeting facilitators recognize this and always keep their meetings on track. They’re not afraid to start a meeting with a small crowd while stragglers straggle in, and they’re not timid about cutting people off at the end of meetings.
Do the same with your writing sessions.
Start them on time and end them on time, every time. Doing so conditions you to get in and get writing quickly, and to wrap up your thoughts as your clock runs down.
Punctuality imparts the urgency that your writing so desperately needs, and it sets you up for the most productive writing sessions possible.
Never forget that writing is important to you, and it’s serious business in your life.
Treat it as such, and approach your writing sessions like business meetings.
Soon, your word count will be climbing to new heights.
Do you plan and structure your writing sessions? Tell me about it in the comments below.