Your Writing Kick-starts

What’s on the iPod: February Seven by The Avett Brothers

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Weekends. They’re supposed to be relaxing times to unwind. Ours have been work, planning, and more work. When you look forward to Monday morning, you know it’s time for a break. That’s what’s happening as soon as I can arrange it.

Today is my husband’s birthday, so my attention will be going in different directions again this afternoon. Cake to be baked, dinner to be made — he’s getting spoiled. It’s his day for it and he deserves it. But for now, it’s work time.

Still, we writers don’t always just sit down Monday mornings with our cups of caffeine and our minds focused on work. I’d bet that Tuesdays through Fridays are equally challenging. That’s why I advocate a transitional time each morning, a space in which you can move slowly from that weekend (glorious or laborious) to the work day. Here are a few things I’ve done that makes my own transition easier:

Music video. There’s a reason I post a link to music videos at the top of each post. I’m using that time to change the tempo, interrupt the “ugh” feeling, and get some inspiring sounds going. For me, it’s one song every morning. For you, maybe more?

The morning commute. Here’s a weird little exercise that works. I dress up (even wash my face before noon, go figure), get in the car, and head to the coffee shop. I get in line, get my caffeine fix, and drive to my office back home. It’s enough of a mental shift to be in line with other commuters to get me thinking of my work day.

One unfinished sentence. I think it was Hemingway who would end his work day mid-sentence. When I’m on a roll, I try to find a good breaking point — one where there’s still some gas in the tank for when I sit back down the next work day. Why this works: I’m not starting fresh. I’m simply completing something. On a Monday after a full weekend, there’s something very appealing about that.

Lists. I’m a list maker. I’ve been known to stick a note on the monitor or on the keyboard Friday afternoon. That list keeps track of any multiple projects I’m working on, and it allows me to “fuhgedaboudit” (as they say in south Philly) until the next work day. There’s nothing worse than walking away from the work day and having the work haunt you the rest of the evening.

Exercise. A good morning walk or circuit-training session gets the blood going, and gives enough energy to get me through a busy morning. I’m more apt to exercise at noon since my attention wanes after lunch, but mornings are also a good time to get a quick walk in.

How do you kick-start your day?

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  • Cathy Miller October 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Coffee, the morning paper, and ESPN. 😉

  • Lori October 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Go get 'em, Cathy. 🙂

  • Paula October 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I take Doggie Lily out, feed her, make my breakfast (typically oatmeal – I hate thinking about what to have for breakfast and avoid things that take more than 3 minutes to make) which I enjoy while checking e-mail. I plan my day, make tea and check a few blogs for inspiration before launching back into work.

  • Anne Wayman October 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I commute every day too, Lori… from my bedroom to my office… maybe 5 steps? Oh, first to the kitchen to feed the cat and make coffee… so maybe 20 steps?

  • Devon Ellington October 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    If I stop in the middle of a sentence or a scene, I lose the whole piece. I'm glad it worked for Hemingway, but I have to work until a chapter end or, at least, a scene end.

    kick-start in the AM — yoga, meditation, then my first 1K of the day.

    If I skip that first 1K, my whole day is out of whack! 😉

  • Lori October 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Paula, that's a good routine.

    Anne, that sounds like my commute. 🙂

    Devon, I hear you –what works for one writer doesn't necessarily work for another. It's why I hate the absolute statements; You MUST do it my way, blah blah… never works to fit everyone into the same box. 🙂

  • Mrs.Books October 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I have a very strange routine–it's coffee, news (while checking email), take child to school, and then some journaling and yoga. Then, "off" to work! 🙂 I still need to find time to walk the dog. 🙂

  • Lori October 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Not so strange, Wendy. But it does sound like fun. 🙂