Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tips for writers: How to set a routine (manage your writing space to manage your writing behaviour)

Writing a dissertation for the Phd is not very different from writing a book. Personally, I enjoy writing books more than writing my dissertation but I have found that when it comes to writing the procedure is more or less the same. So I'll be posting some ideas that I have found really useful to those who have difficulty in organising their work and setting a routine (if you're like that then we have a lot in common). All these ideas come from my readings and have all been tested.
So, let's say that the moment has come when  inspiration overwhelms you and you feel the intense need to write. Where do you do this? I mean, what is the "environmental support" that works for you? It'd better not be the kitchen table! You don't need salt and pepper around you or the kids coming and going, the fridge opening every now and then and, worst of all, the distracting temptation of sweets and biscuits (I admit I have done the same, don't worry).It's a good idea to choose your writing space carefully. And by space we mean a quiet place where you will be able to enjoy uninterrupted privacy for as long as you need it. A special room in your house, one that nobody else uses, can be turned into your writing space. I wouldn't go as far as rent an office ( if you can afford it, why not?) but you need a place to use exclusively for writing that masterpiece.  If there is no spare room in your house, use a desk (worked for me).Your laptop, your notes and everything you need must be there for you and you only.
 And that must be the only reason you sit there: to write. This is how you can focus; under "narrowly defined stimulus conditions". Experts have stressed how stimulus control is closely related to self control. The idea is to write under stimulus control of a particular location and , if possible, on a particular time of day. You may find it useful to set a period of time during the day that you confine yourself in that "writing space", let's say from 5p.m. to 7p.m.
 But try to be consistent. Consistency is the key word here. You will soon find how this will narrow all outside distractions and you will become focused on your project.
One thing you should not underestimate is the support of family nd friends. Avoid unannounced visitors by letting your friends know your writing routine. State simply that you can't be reached during the period of time you dedicate to writing. Those who really care will understand  your need for privacy. Of course you will have to arrange the occasion when you can be with them exclusively.
Friends Comments

Special arrangements must be done with children. If they know that you have committed specific time to them (and of course you keep your commitments) they are less likely to interrupt your work.
Parents Sons
Parents Sons Comments

A warning: Be realistic. Set realistic goals and be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes plans fail and routines change. But that's all right. Besides, you should know that writing is a lonely job.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Inspire them with a photo.

Trying to get back on track after a while spent on my Phd tasks, I find it really hard to set a writing routine. I used to be an early bird, waking up before dawn to spend about two hours writing with a cup of strong coffee next to me when everyone was still asleep... Those were great moments...
Now I wake up before dawn to get ready for school! School in Cyprus starts at 7.30. The kids and I set off at 07.00 every day.
I surely miss home...
How do you manage your writing time?
Anyway, this is what made my day at school this morning;
One of my students discovers my book! She's so excited, she mentions she even does a little writing herself. She asks the question every writer should be ready to answer: What inspires you Mrs Rania?
I tell her "Music".
She's not satisfied, expects something more. She wants to write something for me but she doesn't know how to start.
I say "Look what happens around you. Listen to people talking. Guess...Where they come from...Where they're going..."
She looks disappointed. She says "Reality is harsh".
I can't argue that. She lives a few kilometres from the green line, the Buffer zone that divides her country in two.
I use my lap top to find some photos that will take her to a world of fantasy. She picks three, says she's gonna write a story on frienship.

She smiles. A very promising smile. She's inspired...
I realise  I am smiling too... This was the only good thing that happened to me today.
I have to go. Have some writing to do myself.
PS. Reminder: Join the "Gate Deadlock" birthday party! Order the book in February or May and get the chance to win one of the gifts, the bracelet or the broken heart necklaces...See the previous post on this blog. Good luck!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Celebrate with ‘Gate Deadlock’! Get the book, win a gift!

‘Gate Deadlock’ is celebrating one year since its publication!

All of you who will place your order in February and March have the chance to win one of the following handmade pieces of jewelry by Eliza Christopoulou! Two broken hearts and a goth bracelet are waiting for the lucky readers!
Order here from Amazon or here for Lulu and send me your order receipt on my e-mail address raniasarri68@gmail.com
There will be more surprises for everyone who joins the party! Keep in touch to find out more.