A writer prepares – how to discipline yourself to write a book using this simple writing cave checklist to rock your book writing sessions.

“Keep calm when things don’t go according to your expectations! Beautiful things always meet friction!”

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

I was exhausted, overheating in the sizzling sun, and any stamina I’d brought with me was evaporating with every move on the hoop.

“What is the matter with me today???” I asked my lyra (aerial hoop) coach in exasperation.

My coach reassured me that “training gains are not linear.” What goes up must come down, an ironic turn of phrase in the aerial arts.

But, being honest with myself, I knew exactly what the problem was – I came to training unprepared. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, hydration, or nutrition. I didn’t take the proper steps and follow the habits beforehand to ensure my best effort.

Lyra is not something you can “kind of” show up for. It requires strength, stamina, and focus, and skimping compromises safety. You can’t “phone in” circus. Nearly 5 years into this, I should have known better.

Yes, I survived, (thankfully) didn’t get injured, and somehow got a great workout and learned some new skills, but my heart wasn’t in it and my body felt like it was being dragged through hot tar. I wasn’t proud of my lack of preparation.

Are you coming to your writing sessions prepared?

As a book writing coach, I hear about authors getting discouraged by their writing sessions. I’ve been there too. We’ve all been there. It’s creativity – sometimes it doesn’t work out and most of those times there’s not a darn thing we can do about it.

A writer prepares…

Here’s a writing cave checklist to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for your “training sessions” (since all even the most experienced of us is doing, is practicing the craft of writing):

  1. Is today a writing, research, or editing/review cave? What’s your plan today? Be clear on today’s task and intention before you start so you don’t use this time toggling back and forth in frustration.
  2. Are all the beeping, buzzing, flashy things turned OFF and hidden from your eye line?
  3. Did you create space, even a few minutes of quiet contemplation of your book, between the reactive chaos of your day and this special time when you get to sit in quiet and create something from nothing?
  4. What other rituals around writing have worked for you in the past that maybe you’ve stopped doing over time? Is it time to revive them?
  5. What else has worked for you in the past during writing time?
  6. What is your current mood? Is it conducive to creativity? If not – make that adjustment now (go for a walk, exercise, walk the dog, pet the cat, meditate, listen to certain music).

Also, what a bad writing session does NOT mean:

  • It does not mean you’re not meant to be an author.
  • It does not mean this book is not meant to be.
  • It does not mean you’re lacking the “natural talent” to be an author.
  • It does not mean that clearly you must have better things to do than write this book.
  • It does not mean that [fill in whatever other excuses your brain is trying to feed you about why you shouldn’t write a book right now].

My bad lyra session was a result of not honoring my tried and true training habits. How are your writing habits doing? Have you been listening to my daily podcast for authors, Your Daily Writing Habit to keep on top of those habits so when it IS writing cave time – you’re ready to write?

After this week’s less-than-stellar session, I didn’t decide to take a break from training (I was back in the air within 24 hours). I didn’t decide that I’m a bad aerialist, too weak, or too old to be doing this. My only takeaway was to be better prepared next time. An aerialist prepares, a writer prepares.

Good habits and a growth mindset for the win!

PS: Did you try doing the things on the checklist above but your writing caves STILL aren’t paying off? Let’s get on the phone and look at your writing plan and see if any adjustments need to be made!


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