01 February

Your Writer Muscle - Get It a Trainer...


Wacky Scenario...

So, one day, I decide I'd like to be a body builder. I read one lousy article on the profession, get inspired, and say, "Yup, that's the thing for me!"

So, I head to the gym, and lift weights until I can't lift weights anymore. I head home, feeling grrreat! The next morning, I awake, and I can't move for crying, "Mommy!" Every muscle in my body is screaming at me... saying,

"What in the holy heavenly hash did you do to us??? The last thing we muscles remember is your love of the couch and Netflix."

I end up in such pain I don't return to the gym for weeks, maybe months, maybe never, because the trauma on my body was too great.


Hey, you hackers of words out there... you getting my drift?


Muscles can't be expected to perform to Olympic standards right out of the gate... if they've never even seen a gate.

Those muscles need to be trained to perform, right? Right?

"Everyone knows this, B.J.," you say.

"Oh, really," I say. "Then why do you think your writer muscle can go from lifting 0 words per day to 2 grand, in under a day, every day?"

From you, I hear *crickets*.


Like with every other skill humans can acquire, we do it over time and through practice. Humans are not gods. We need to train, learn, and train some more. And we writers need to train in intervals our never-before-used writer muscle can withstand. Otherwise, that muscle receives trauma, and it drops working on that manuscript, possibly never picking it up again.

Sound familiar?

HOMEWORK: If you haven't yet done this, keep a 2-week diary of when your time and energy is at that free/sweet spot, and once you know when your writing sessions can occur per day/week, set yourself a word count goal for each session.... then CUT THAT NUMBER IN HALF.

Yep. You read me right. Half that sucker. Heck, maybe even quarter it.

Your writer muscle can't hack out 2 grand/day if you've never worked it like that before.

For you, CONSISTENCY is better than word count. Seriously.

I'd rather see you open your laptop every day for the next week, plunk out the word, "the," close your laptop, and REPEAT that process til the end of the week, than see you grunt and groan out 2 grand on one single day, and never open that laptop again.

The KEY: Up your word count GRADUALLY, OVER TIME.

The LONG TERM HOMEWORK: Write EVERY DAY for the next 42 DAYS, even if all you write are 42 "the's."

The FACT: It takes a human at least 6 weeks to move an action into an automatic habit. 42 days.

  • Keep a calendar. Cross off each day of those 42 where you wrote.
  • If you skip a day, START OVER. Yep. You read me. Start. Over.
  • It might take you SEVERAL TRIES to get in those 42 days. It surely did me. THAT IS NORMAL. THAT IS NOT FAILURE. Stop blubbering...
  • And do this writer muscle heavy lifting until you manage to write every single day of those 42.
  • I don't care what you write. You can pen a hate mail letter to me. Like you'd be the first to do that... ;-)
  • You NEED to train your brain to the process of walking to your laptop, opening it up, plunking down some words, saving, closing the laptop, and repeating each day, to gain strength in that writer muscle, so that you'll be able to write every day, and for the rest of your writer life.

Now, be off with your skimpy writer muscle, and start training that sucker. 

Morty Muscle... ready and rarin' to go!

 Morty Muscle is a couch potato right now, so be gentle with the wee dude... ;-)

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