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Writing can be fun, or it can be grueling. Or it can turn into one of those fiascos where you say “I’m a writer” for 3 or 20 years and never actually produce something.

But let’s not go there. Instead, let’s work on the positives. Here’s what you need to do to succeed.

Work at your Freshest

As I mentioned, I hit the computer no later than 6:00 AM. That gives me somewhere between two and four hours of writing time before I start to get interrupted.

That’s also when my mind is the freshest, so it makes sense that I write new work, like books or articles during this time. I don’t outline; outlining is something you can do when your brain is a little more tired. I can outline in the afternoon or evening. So if I have a new book to plan, I’ll usually do that after dinner over a few evenings knowing that I have a morning coming up that I need to be writing.

Don’t Get Sucked In

Since I’ve been doing this for 15 years, I’m fairly good at staying off the Internet. But if I find myself slipping, I’ll do one of a few things that makes it harder to get there, things that make me think about whether I really need to go to the Internet at that moment. Because face it, we need the Internet for research a lot of times. Just not the cat videos.

So what do I do? Lately I’ve just set my laptop Internet connection to manual. That means I if I want to go online, I actually have to click the box to have it connect. That’s just enough of an interruption for me to think, “do I really need to do this?”

When I had a cable connection going straight into the computer, I unplugged it. And at one point I changed my browser home page to something that says, “what is your goal for today?” The first time I opened the browser I would fill in what I was doing. From then on whenever I opened it, I could read the words and see if I was still on track.

No is a Complete Sentence

Look, you’re going to get a lot of interference from all sides. Time sucking activities, irresistible offers, relentless friends. It’s up to you to decide: Do you want to write a book or not?

If you do, and I’m absolutely sure you do or you wouldn’t be here reading this blog, then you have to say no. Even if you have never been able to say no, or your friends won’t let you – whatever that excuse is, get rid of it. Just. Say. No.

And that’s all. No is a complete sentence. You don’t need to remind them (they already know). You don’t need to remind yourself, or if you do just take a peek over at your vision board. There’s the reason you’re writing. Right?

Practice it with me now. No. Not even no, thank you. This is the new, resolved You. The Author You. Just No.

Great job!

Till next time – happy writing.

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