Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resolutions Rehab

This is a great article on how Jerry Seinfeld keeps productive. It's a way to start over and  rehab those New Year's Resolutions thanks to Pepper Phillips and the Writers Store.
Don't Break The Chain-Jerry Seinfeld's Method For Creative Success

Don't Break the Chain

When it comes to making New Year's resolutions, we writers aren't exactly the norm.
Most people resolve to lose weight, dreaming of the day they can hold up their "fat jeans," as if in a weight-loss commercial. We want to hold up a few freshly printed scripts and know we've created something tangible.
Others might hope to finish their first triathlon this year. We hope to finish a screenplay, a one-hour pilot, and a half-hour comedy spec.
This year, I'm gonna write more. It's a popular resolution amongst our crowd. It's a great goal, but it's vague.
Then again, maybe some of us promised to write every day. That's even better.
But just like hitting a plateau at the gym, we sometimes lose the steam that once powered a new and exciting story idea. We take one day off, which turns into two days off; eventually, we find ourselves opening up a document only to realize it hasn't been touched in two weeks - or more.
Let's say you do write most of the time, but you take one or two days off each week for any number of reasons. That's still a lot of writing. But consider this: at the end of the year, that's roughly 10 weeks, or 2.5 months' worth of days that you didn't write anything.
That's where Jerry Seinfeld's productivity tip "Don't Break the Chain" comes in.
Years ago, when software developer Brad Isaac was performing stand-up at open mic nights, he received his best advice ever from the already-famous comedian.
Seinfeld explained his method for success: each January, he hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he writes new material, he has the exquisite pleasure that can only come from drawing a big red "X" over that day.
Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs.
The idea was to never break that chain.  Read the rest of the article here

 750 Words
This is another site that helps you to keep up your productivity. The idea is to write 750 words (3 pages) before you do anything else. No reading email, talking on the phone, or any other distracting activity until you're finished the 3 pages.

 It was inspired by The Artist's Way  called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in "long hand", typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It's about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful. 
For more information go to
What  are your ideas for increasing productivity and staying motivated to write?


George said...

Good reminder and a nice tip. Thank you. The only thing I’d suggest adding is read everyday: it can fertilize writing.

Matthew Bryant said...

Writing everyday is just begging for burnout. The day you boot up your laptop and stare at the screen for 10 minutes or longer is when you need to shut the screen and go do something else. Put it out of your mind, don't dwell on it.

What seems to work for me these days is routine scheduling. I only have two days a week alloted to writing (fiction) at the moment. Two for blogs, one for art and then two to relax... play video games, hang with the misses, etc. Make sure to pace yourself in all things that you do, and be sure to stay flexible. Just because it's WRITING DAY doesn't mean you have to force yourself to do it. If it isn't flowing, switch days. Grinding through a story is just pages of crap that you'll have to go back and rework later.

C. A. Szarek said...

Nice reminders not to lose focus!

I personally am doing ok! I am playing an awesome Alphabet Game on my blog and it's really helping me keep the writing juices flowing.

Ruby Johnson said...

Email is really the biggest problem I have. Then it's hard to get into what I should be doing.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Great advice. Three pages a day is about three books a year! We could each benefit from that rate of productivity, couldn't we?

J.A. Bennett said...

Thanks for the great motivational idea :)I agree with M. Bryant that pounding on a story every day can induce the dreaded burnout, but getting into a daily habit of at least a personal journal is something I know will help me be a better, and quicker, writer when it is time to generate important pages.

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