(Transcript) Your writing habits determine your success as an author. What are your habits?



Morgan MacDonald : So today I want to talk about habits, because habits are super important. As a writing coach one of the first things that I ever talk about with clients is their current habits, and how we can improve them to make their writing productive. That’s the point. Every week you want to be churning out words toward your writing project. Whether that’s a blog or a book, if the words aren’t on the PAGE then you’re not really making any progress. So I like to examine your habits, and whether or not you realize it you already HAVE habits… Thanks for the hearts guys.


Oh, Periscope 101. If you like what I’m saying, tap the screen to give hearts, and that let’s me know that you’re engaged, and that this is useful for you. And if you like to hear about writing, click the little “Peri Dude” down there, and if you’re not following me it’s a plus, and [if you] click it it will turn into a check mark. That means you’re following me, and it will let me know when I am Scoping.


Oh! One last thing. If you have to hop off, you can always find out what we’ve Scoped about, because I know you’re busy. If you’re like me, I listen to Scopes while I’m making dinner, or in the car, and obviously I don’t want to be typing and taking notes while i’m driving or cooking. So I take notes FOR you. I take Scope Notes. So let me show you where the address is. This is the address that will have notes, replays and transcripts, so you can always stay caught up.


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http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope . There it is Charles, right there for you.


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Alrighty, so you can always stay caught up there with the latest Scopes. My web site is also up there on that corner (http://www.paperravenbooks.com ), so you can see it. It was really hard to write that because I had to write it in mirror image [laughter]. So it took another 10 minutes to write [it] in mirror image. [laughter] But anyway, you have it for reference up there.


Okay. So whether or not you realize it you already have writing habits. These are some COMMON writing habits that happen when we don’t realize it. So, do you WAIT until you feel inspired to write? Do you write halfway through a story ot draft and then STOP and take a break [laughter]? Do you re-read every paragraph as you’re writing? LIke you finish a paragraph and then you go back and re-read it? Do you spend more time TALKING about and THINKING about writing, than ACTUALLY writing? And before you sit down to write, do you check email and Facebook  really quick first? I know. I do that [laughter]. But these are all habits that we develop unintentionally, and they really detract from your writing.

Peri Mqz ( https://twitter.com/PeriMqz ) Forever alone.


Morgan MacDonald : … Forever alone? I’m not really sure. Elaborate for me…. We’re NEVER alone, not when we have Periscope [laughter].


Rick ( https://twitter.com/r78renteria ) Where in Houston are u?


Morgan MacDonald : … Where in Houston am I? Southwest Houston. Kind of in the [Mireland?] area, that flooded in May. MY house didn’t, but I felt really bad for my neighbors. My kids were like , “Wow! There’s water everywhere!” Sorry, tangent.


But we have these habits if we have unexamined writing routines. So I want to, kind of, challenge you today to think about the WAYS in which you usually write. Think about what habits you’ve accidentally developed, and then take that moment to say, “Okay. Here are some NEW habits that I want to establish.” Here are a couple I would love for you to think about.


One habit that you could start that would SERIOUSLY change your life ifs to set weekly word count goals. So if you’re writing a book I recommend that you shoot for 3,000 to 5,000 words a week. That’s enough to keep good momentum on a book project. And that will take three to five hours a week. Three to five.  … Hi Tracy. [You] just joined… And that’s enough to keep momentum in your book. Even if you have to spend 60 to 80 hours a week doing stuff for work, and kids, and home, and laundry, and groceries – you can spend three hours a week writing a books, especially if that book can seriously change your life.


… Hi Pam. Also joining… So set those word count goals and track your progress. So write down every writing session.  Say, “It was  September 2nd, and from 6:00 am to 6:30am I wrote 500 words.” Keep that on a piece of paper, and three weeks after you’ve been tracking your progress you’ll have a whole new perspective on when you write best.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) : You look so pretty!!! Love the backdrop!


Morgan MacDonald : Oh, thanks Tracy. I know. I upgraded. I’m more pro. Look, I have http://www.paperravenbooks.com up there [laughter]… We’re upgrading a little bit at a time. Periscope has been a really awesome way to connect, and so I really want to invest in the Periscopes that I do for you guys so that really get awesome value. And part of that is the aesthetics. Okay. Sorry. I’m feeling a little bit distracted because I actually did like and hour long webinar, and so now my mind is a little bit mushy. But we’re going to do it. We’re going to make it, [and] it’s going to be good.   


Number two, writing routines.


Charles Bezerra ( https://twitter.com/charlinho_kr ) She’s really pretty!


Morgan MacDonald : … Oh, thanks Charles… Writing routines for when and where you’ll be writing. So let me think about this, because when we have all of these devices : the smartphones, and the tablets, and the laptops, and the computers like everywhere, it’s really tempting to say, “Oh, I’m just going to write wherever.” Like, “If I’m in the grocery store, and I have five minutes, and the line’s really long, and I’m just going to write.” But then if you are writing on your blog post, or your book, in the middle of the grocery store line, what happens to that writing. Does it ever get re-integrated, and re-incorporated into your main file? Maybe, [or] maybe not. So that’s NOT productive.


What IS productive is just setting aside like a few times a week, and just say, “Okay. I know that Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in the morning I’m going to write. I’m going to be at my kitchen table with my laptop.” Streamline it. Make it simple. Writing does NOT have to be complicated. Just because there ARE a thousand writing apps doesn’t mean you have to USE a thousand writing apps. Use one. Pick one and use it. Use it all the time [laughter]… Thanks for the hearts guys… So really consider and be intentional about when and where and how you’re writing.


Number three, I recommend free writing. This is a habit that I actually use for EVERYTHING. I free write about my books – and I know Tracy does too. I think those are the purple hearts coming up – we love free writing. I free write about a book before I write it. I free write about my business, and my family, and my spirituality, and like anything I’m having an ISSUE with, or want to think more deeply about, free writing helps me, kind of, access that.


So the way that I practice free writing is [that] I set a timer. Five minutes is long enough to get a good free writing session in. Or I recommend 10 actually. So like 10 minutes. You can fit in 10 minutes anywhere. [I] pull up my laptop, start the 10 minute timer, and I just start typing, literally, as fast as I can. So my fingers are spilling out words faster than my brain is thinking them, which is a REALLY weird sensation at first [laughter], but I promise [that] if you do that for 10 minutes, and [then] you look back over what you’ve written, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. I didn’t even realize that thought was in my brain.” You come up with solutions.You come up with like new, crazy ways to combine ideas. You come with like a vision for your future that you never had before. I mean, it’s like you will be dumbfounded at how much is in your brain once you start free writing. So we use that free writing technique : 10 minutes, timer, typing as fast as you can.


Number four – it’s kind of a riff off the same one – but use a timer NOT ONLY when you’re free writing, but ANY TIME you’re writing. So when you’re drafting your chapter, or editing, or revising, or posting your blog on WordPress. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and try to get as much done as you can in that 25 minutes, [but] when that timer rings you’ve got to stop, and you’ve got to take a five minute break. [It’s] like non-negotiable, because your brain can focus really, really well for 25 minutes, and then it needs a break. Pushing and going for 60 [or] 90 [or] 120 minutes of focused work is not possible for your brain. And that’s fine. We’ve just got to learn how to work with our brain. So this is actually called the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro – who’s from Italy? You know what that means, and you can spell it properly, unlike most of us Americans.   


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Hey Morgan!


Morgan MacDonald : … Hey Ron! Thanks for joining… So it’s a productivity style that’s 25 minutes of highly focused work, and then a five minute break. So that is a really great habit NOT ONLY for your writing – and I recommend that for ANY type of writing – but for getting stuff done in general. Actually, I set Pomodoro’s for my kids. When they’re cleaning up the house at the end of the day I’m like, “Okay kids, I’m setting a timer and these are the three things we’re going to accomplish before that timer goes off.” And they scurry. They’re like, “Oh, we’ve got to run fast.” So, we do the same thing. We hit that timer and our brain is like, “Okay.Gotta focus, and go!” And we start writing, or typing, or whatever it is that we’re doing we start doing it faster, and with more focus. So, 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off.


Then the last habit is sharing your progress with someone else… Thanks Ron. I appreciate the share… You guys, if you’re not following Ron, he’s a writer [and] he Scopes daily about writing also… Ron, there’s some emojis up there in the comments so that people can follow you. And Pam – if you’re in here too – she’s a writer also. Ron and Pam, throw some like thumbs up, or I don’t what emojis Periscope has these days [laughter], party hats [or] whatever, and that way people can follow you guys… Thanks Ron. Yup, there’s some [Eegy?] faces [laughter]… Ron’s awesome, and then if Pam is still in here, Pam throw up some also… But you guys, hit their comment, hit their thing, and hit “follow”.


Find an accountability partner. Find someone who you trust, and will encourage you, and provide you guidance when you need it, and invest in that relationship. That’s what accountability really is. [It’s] like you trust this person with the project that you’re working on, and you let them IN. You know? You let them SEE your vulnerability. You let them see that you’re working toward this grand vision, and maybe you don’t always make the progress that you want, but that person is there to help you, and encourage you, and to give you a kick when you need it. And honestly, I don’t think you can finish a book without someone like that. I had an accountability partner when I was writing my book. As a coach I AM people’s accountability partners. And even in my other goals…     


Pam Kesterson ( https://twitter.com/PamKesterson ) I’m here. Did you know your sign is backwards on the screen?  


Morgan MacDonald : … There’s Pam. It’s backwards. Dang it! On MINE it looks correct. Okay. I’m going to fix that. But yáll just saw Pam. Follow her too…. Well that just looks silly, doesn’t it? That’s okay. We’re learning. We’re always learning. We’re always adjusting, always adapting, always tweaking.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Reverse camera.


Morgan MacDonald : … Reverse camera… It’s funny. You know, it took me 10 MINUTES to right that mirror image [laughter]. Oh, anyway . It’s fine, It’s totally cool… Hi Chivas…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Write it backwards.

Morgan MacDonald : …I DID write it backwards, Ron… Okay. Look. I don’t know if you guys can read the text. The text that’s in the circles is forwards for me, and then the text that’s up there up there at the very top, that says “Paper Raven Books” is backwards for me. Man, 10 minutes wasted in my day. It’s fine [laughter]. I’m so dedicated. I tell you, today has been the day of tech glitches. I had this webinar [where] I spent hours making this beautiful slide presentation, and then I didn’t share the screen properly. But I was looking at the slides, so I couldn’t see the chat, and everyone was like, “I can’t see the slides.” And I didn’t even know until after everything was over.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : So you thought you were outsmarting the camera.


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] I thought I was outsmarting the camera. Ron, exactly… I was trying to be smart, and it didn’t work. That’s okay. So then I had to go back and email them the slides, and now we’re at the backwards text [laughter]


Pam Kesterson ( https://twitter.com/PamKesterson ) : Write it like looking in an ambulance. I don’t know. It’s beautiful though.


Morgan MacDonald : … Write it like looking in an ambulance. Thank you Pam. I will… Okay, I’m going to fix this. It will be fine. I mean, this is, I guess, the lesson that the universe is trying to teach me today. It’s like, we just put stuff out there, and sometimes it’s not perfect, and we iterate, and we make changes, and we do it again [laughter].


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) : It’s science.!


Morgan MacDonald : …It’s science!… Tracy down there loves science. Tracy is ALMOST finished with her book – we’ve been working on it since June – and she’s going to launch. She’s going to like rock it out of here. You’re going to be hearing a lot from Tracy, especially if you raise daughters and love science. Tracy is your gal.


So yes guys. We iterate. We experiment. We keep launching. We keep trying. And that goes for writing, for business, and, kind of, for life. I mean, it’s like parenting. You TRY with the first kid, and at least you have the second kid [laughter] to make up for whatever mistakes you made..On “How I Met Your Mother” they call the first kid “the first pancake”, because the first pancake is always burnt [laughter]. And then you have more kids… Anyway, so Pam connect with Tracy. This is how it works, folks. Yáll connect on Twitter, because Pam writes also, and we all love science. So yes, this is how it works on Periscope.


Anyway, I did a webinar on this, and it was longer and more in depth. So if you wanted to know something more… I have a Google sheet on how to track your progress. I have different,  sort of, ways to set up writing routines, and an explanation on how to do free writing. I did a webinar. I’ll go ahead and share the link with you. Ah, I didn’t have my slides. So if you look at the webinar I will SEND you the slides. I’m really sorry about that. It’s just a tech glitch. But let me show you…


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http://www.paperravenbooks.com/5habits , because it’s talking about THESE five habits.


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Alrighty guys. That’s what I’ve got for today. Does anybody have any questions? What do you think? What are your habits?….What about you guys? Any habits you have [with] writing that you want to work on? I’m trying to think. My big habit is that I check email and Facebook before I start writing, which is like SUPER “No-no! Can’t do that.” I also have a tendency to get up and get fresh coffee.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : He loved me too!


Morgan MacDonald : … Ron, he loved me too… Chivas, I really appreciate the attention, but we’ve got to contribute in other ways too… What other habits do we have. Unexamined habits are the worst,  because we just even realize how they’re sinking our productivity.   


Pam Kesterson ( https://twitter.com/PamKesterson ) : Writing too much.


Morgan MacDonald : … Writing too much. Oh, Pam, I like that…That is interesting, because yeah, you’re right. We want to get the word count out, but then you need to think [about] is what we’re writing actually moving us closer toward that finish line?


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Snacking.


Morgan MacDonald : … Hah! Ron, snacking [laughter]… It’s true. And it’s really hard to type and eat at the same time, so that will sink your word count productivity. Yeah. I guess I probably have that tendency, too, to write too much.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) : Yeah – not taking a break.


Morgan MacDonald : … Tracy, not taking a break… I know. Do you use the timer yet, Tracy [laughter]? Yeah, I know you’ve heard me talk about that like a million times, but using a timer has been key for me. Because I’m the same way. I’ll work for 60 minutes and not realize it. So once I get in a groove I’ll work for a long time, but then if I’m not in the groove it’s like every five minutes I’m like, “I wonder what’s happening on Periscope?” [laughter] . Another good habit is putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” for a block of time, so that the little Periscope whistle doesn’t go off. That’s just one of mine.


Well guys. It’s been fun. It’s lunchtime. At least it is here. It’s 12:25pm Central time. I appreciate you sharing your lunch with me, and getting some writing inspiration. Follow me, if you don’t already [via] the little “Peri Guy”” down there. Hit the plus, it changes to a check, and then you’re following me. And let’s connect on Twitter @morgangmac ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac ) . I should write that up there too, but I should write it in a way that you can actually read it, and not a mirror image.


So spend the rest of your lunch writing, and I will talk to you guys tomorrow. Oh wait, tomorrow’s [topic] is – I‘ll give you a sneak peak : “Where the heck do good writing ideas come from?” That’s what we’re talking about tomorrow. All right. ,  



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