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The Ritual is the Reminder: Five Time Tested Strategies

 It is time to flip the switch to "ON" and get started. These are the top tips for setting yourself up for success. Just remember, without a strong scaffolding, your structure is weak.

 TIP #1 - Schedule a life-saver. Many people tell me that it is easier to get up earlier than to carve time out of their already existing schedules.  Set an alarm for your appointment with yourself and your creative process. The time you choose should be when you are the most active mentally. Schedule your date and pretend it is your dialysis – your hookup to a life-saving process.

TIP #2 - Consider your writing time sacred but also realize that non-writing time is creative time. Carry a notebook like Joan Didion. When you live with creative awareness, you are seeing with a lens that allows you to take anything you find curious. Comb for details while you are awake, filing away insights and ideas from the environment of your life. The haircut of one of the moms at the playground, the mannerisms of a check-out clerk, the way that men wait for the bus. It is all there for you to harvest and apply to your writing time.

TIP #3 - Use ritual to your favor. One of my favorite scenes is Michael Chabon's film The Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas as Grady Tripp in his lucky pink bathrobe. Put together your ritual kit - some headphones, a soundtrack, tea or coffee, your favorite notebook, your phone on "airplane mode" - each time you follow your ritual you are harnessing the power of consistency.

TIP #4 -Harness your motivations. In the book, "Well Designed Life" author Kyra Bobinet uses some of the latest findings in psychology to help readers align "what they want to do, with what they actually do." Sticking with writing is about finding a stable motivation piggybacked on a strong emotion. By putting the two things together you have the purpose and the willpower. This is not, "I'd like to write" or "I could make some time" - this is more of "I need to feel heard" and "I am happy when I create" combined. A strong basic need mixed with emotion. For more info, here is Dr. Bobinet interviewed on a Stanford Medical Lab podcast.

TIP #5 - Use the buddy system. Get an accountability partner to check in with weekly, daily, whatever it takes. Set clear goals and make sure your partner is defining tangible milestones. If what you are saying you want to do and what you are actually doing is not aligning, go back to #4.