This weekend, you’re putting your craft first. No, not that craft. The other W craft: writing.
I know – surprise! But that’s what we’re doing a la Get in loser, we’re going shopping except we’re writing and we’re not losers.
It’s a bad analogy. Anyway… These are things you probably already know or have thought of. Often what we need is not ideas, but permission. So I give you permission to put your writing first this weekend, and to do any and all of and more than what is on this list.
The police department takes debit card for bail payments, so go forth and slay.
-Plan your weekend tonight. Go into the next two (three in the US) days of the weekend with a plan.
-Get what you need on the way home tonight. Pens. Coffee. Laundry soap. Check off your chore boxes as much as possible tonight. Success starts the night before.
-Let at least two people know you’re putting your writing first this weekend. Create some gentle accountability with people who are going to check in and see if you’ve kept your promise.
-Commit tonight to things on Saturday or Sunday you’re not absolutely thrilled to do. This weekend you’re putting your craft first. Practice your “Thanks for asking. Can I take a rain check?”
-Go to bed without a soft word/scene/chapter count, or at the very least, a plot arc you’d like to get written out. Commit your goal to paper and tape it up before you close your eyes for the night.
Hans Zimmer. Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes, Last of the Mohicans, and Dances with Wolves all made our swap lists this week.
Two Steps from Hell. Epic Fantasy folks, they are definitely for you.
LP’s Lost on You album has broken at least two hearts this week.
Need a brain-break? Looking for some examples of authors who make their words work?
The Folded Clock – Heidi Julavits (Women; humor; observations)
The Bitter Twins – Jen Williams (Women; fantasy; nail-biter)
Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames (Fantasy fun; thrill-ride)
A Field Guide to Awkward Silences – Alexandra Petri (Women; weirdness; feeling okay)
-Your body. Boo! But it gets the blood flowing, the endorphins and the dopamine scrambling through our system. Jog in place. Shadow box. Minecraft pilates or some other crazy trend workout. Move your body for at least ten minutes and see if you don’t feel more prepared to write.
-Your brain! Stuck? Need a warm up first thing in the morning? Creaky and out of practice after a long hiatus? Tadaa!
Thinky Stuff Here courtesy of Reddit.
Pick one and give it just fifteen minutes. See where it takes you. Even if it doesn’t inspire your magnum opus, your gray cells will get into a rhythm you can carry over to your WIP.
-Some reasonable goals, but push yourself. Three one-hour blocks each day, and stretch for 100 more words each session. This guarantees you’re getting more than three hundred words a day. One thousand words by the end of a weekend (a holiday weekend for us Yanks) isn’t too shabby. Do NOT sit inside all day waiting to be filled with the power of the Holy Literist. Pretty soon you’re wearing your wedding dress while the mice gnaw your ancient wedding cake and you wonder at days of the weeks and weeks of the year. Just…go out into the light now and then.
-Some boundaries – regarding texting, social media, and how often you’ll indulge. Equally, set reasonable guidelines about how long you’ll sit behind the keyboard. Our brains work best with a 15 minute break each hour, so try to plan accordingly for coffee, bathroom, and social breaks.
-Space. If you don’t have a dedicated writing space, you do now. Or you will in about ten minutes. Just for this weekend, give yourself an undisturbed, carefully arranged place to create. If you have a regular space, den, office, etc, go somewhere else. If it’s easier, go out to write – coffee shop, library, etc. Our brains idle when we fall into routines, and we function by muscle memory. This is great for starting the coffee at four a.m. but absolute rubbish if you need your neurons firing on all four cylinders. Change it up.
-Time. This is especially hard if you have small children. Sometimes your creativity doesn’t align with nap time. A few back-pocket tricks:
A blanket fort in the evening with drawing supplies or favorite books inside.
Cover the living room/kitchen floor with old wrapping paper or newspaper and break out the crayons.
Corral them in an empty tub with bath paints.
Kitchen spoons and bowls of colored water on the back deck.
-Nazia (@Gambit589) showed off some brisket this past week, and Memorial Day Weekend seems like a nice long stretch for smoking/grilling similar.
-Instagram has been a wealth of vegan delights. If your summer includes eating cleaner (mine sure does) try a dish at home this weekend. It’s more than soy sausage and weird cheese substitute. Avocado chocolate pudding (no dairy, packed with superfats!) is life-changing.
-Snacks. Nuts, berries, cheese. Keep some brain food on hand for the inevitable slump.
-Crockpot. If you’re really trying to bust out the words this weekend, dig out the crockpot or grab one at goodwill. With dinner off your agenda by 9 or 10 a.m. the day is wide open for words.
-Water. I know, I know. It’s almost June. We all need to hydrate.
Scotch ever tops the list for literary lubricant, but American bourbon has edged in lately. Maker’s Mark is always a solid bet.
-Thrilled to find Midnight Sun Brewing Co’s Envy Imperial Pilsner in the wild last week. Their PleasureTown imperial pale is also making the rounds, and Canada folks, they should be available to you, at least. Stock your fridge before you hit the keys.
-While I was traveling we had a long argument over the proper recipe for a Manhattan. If anyone thinks they have answers, feel free to weigh in. The only consensus was, made correctly or not, what we were served was tasty enough. If mixed drinks are your thing for writing hours, please participate in the research.
-MCM Comic Con! Anyone close enough to go, GO! (Letitia Wright, Guys!!)
If you’re already attending or presenting, I’m jealous of your being there, but not the travel. I know, going out and doing not-writing seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes we need a change of scene and some stimulation. Sometimes we need fun.
-Us Yanks have Memorial Day, which traditionally celebrates Union sacrifices, but is a sort of catch-all veteran holiday. If you’re stateside, feel free to continue the bbq vs. sit inside and cry debate on how the day should be celebrated. I’ll be out of town grilling and giving zero with the blessing of my grandfather who survived three wars and celebrated however the f**k he pleased. American friends, take an afternoon this weekend to celebrate what we have, while we still have it, however you choose. Inspiration will definitely strike if you are elbows deep in sauce or thirty miles from the nearest writing implement.
-Movies? Anyone seeing Solo this weekend, leave us a spoiler-free teaser. If you see a different movie and it knocks your socks off, let us know.
-Temptation. Have a clear picture in your mind of what success this weekend looks like. Two hundred words. A chapter. A first draft query. By tonight, as you finish your goal sheet, also envision your success. Whatever the distraction – tv, Facebook, the neighbor’s super cute pup doing his zooms across the yard (always when I’m writing, always!) – if you’ve yet to meet that success benchmark, then remind yourself that temptation is not just momentary gratification; it’s a setback. Our writing careers get slapped down by setbacks all the time, things beyond our control. Be firm that you’re not going to invite or create more of them. You can indulge, and even celebrate, once you’ve hit your goal.
Your Karma. One compliment, act of kindness, paying it forward, or giving encouragement.Just once this weekend, deposit something into Bank of the Universe. These moments sometimes get paid back when you’re in the hardest place with your writing, so consider it an investment for yourself as much as a kindness to others ❤
Proud. You’re giving your career the love it and you deserve.
Ready. You’re going into this with a rough plan.
Excited. Each word you commit to this weekend brings you closer to achieving your dream.
Fearless. Great writing comes from an honest place. You have a truth inside to tell, and it’s yours first and foremost. No one is going to see what you write this weekend, so do not self-censor, edit, hesitate, or withhold. Be raw on the page.
You have permission and you have a plan. Get started ❤