3 tips for writers that have nothing to do with writing

Being born after both Stephen King and Anne Lamott, I am in no way situated to give writing advice. But while I won’t presume to try to help you produce your best prose, I am going to presume that I am pretty good at writing consistently. And I’ll also presume that you want to live the life of a writer a little better than you do now.

So! These are not revelations, but they are helpful. You could even call them “life-hacks,” but then we can’t be friends. Your call.

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1. Get up early.

The easiest way to add bonus time to your day for writing is to rip it right from Dawn’s rosy fingers. No, it isn’t necessarily fun to get up before sunrise and yes, I do have an unfair advantage at this because of farm conditioning and a natural larkiness. But it’s not just a personal predilection, I swear: if you can rouse yourself from sleep and put in an hour or half an hour or even ten minutes, you give your writing the best brainpower, jacked-up on caffeine and undiluted by actually having done anything yet that day.

Make coffee. Eat breakfast. Then go.

 

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2. Do not touch your smartphone at crucial times.

If you need to make a call, sure, you pedant. What I mean by crucial are times when you can sneak in some hardcore daydreaming: train rides, waiting for the bus, chopping up food for dinner, etc. Phones are like antibacterial soap for ideas: they wipe everything out of your head, good and bad. Keeping your Angry Birds caged up in your pocket or backpack and resisting the urge to dial up Terry Gross’s dulcet tones to blot out the background noise will let all kinds of things grow in your mental terrarium. Be alone with your thoughts. Walk and woolgather. Stare out the window and let things get funky.

 

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3. Learn to like lentils.

Day job or no, writers must live cheaply. But food is non-negotiable, especially if you’re one of those delicate flowers whose personal hierarchy of needs includes things like “breathing” and
nourishment”  before you even get to art. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and fiber that are easy to cook from dried, cost next to nothing, and go well with the economical vegetables that will last for weeks without getting limp and pathetic. You can make a giant thing of salad or soup and subsist on it for days and it will usually taste good enough to keep you from feeling too Bob Cratchit-y about your situation.

2 thoughts on “3 tips for writers that have nothing to do with writing

  1. Kathy W

    I kept staring at that pot of lentils thinking it looked familiar, and then I realized its because I used to OWN it. HAH!

    ps. I’m super glad you’ve started posting again!

    Reply

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