10 Quick Tips How to Improve the Art of B.i.c. H.o.k. (Butt in chair, Hands on keyboard)

butt in chair ajl letters

Last week we talked about how to set SMART writing goals.

This week I want to take it one step further.

Even if you have set beautiful writing goals, the only way to actually reach these goals is to again and again put your butt in your chair and your hands on that keyboard. Open your word processor. Start with a plan and a few letters. See them grow into words and sentences, then pages and chapters. Repeat until the book is completed.

The only thing standing between you and those written pages are the B.i.c. H.o.k.

B.i.c. H.o.k. is really the art of FINISHING your book, of making sure that you will write until done.

The principle is so easy, yet sometimes it seems almost unmanageable to find the time to place that butt in that chair!

I know it. You know it.

There are just so many things to do in a day, so many responsibilities, so many chores, so many crisis to save other people from, so many hours at the day job, such a nice, soft couch that seems to scream your name at the end of the day.

The art of B.i.c. is really about habit. And discipline. And stubbornness. About really wanting that dream of yours to come true. But mostly about habit. The more often you do it, the easier it gets!

So, here they are, 10 quick tips (so you can soon get back to that text of yours!) on how to become even better at the art of BUTT IN CHAIR, HANDS ON KEYBOARD!

butt in chair ajl2 text

1. Schedule writing time on purpose!

Do you want to be a writer? Then make time to write. Squeeze it in. Write it on your agenda – and meet up like you would to any other appointment. Write your writing appointment down. Meet up. If you do this, the odds just grew enormously that you will become a published writer!

2. Know your goals!

Put your SMART writing goal somewhere you can see it. You already have a timely and measurable goal. How many words do you need every writing session? Or if you don’t count words: How much time do you have to write? Find out what works for you and make sure to write during your writing time! Make your goals realistic so that you can achieve them even on a bad day. It is very motivating to excel your goals regularly! Every word counts – every single word means progress!

3. Keep a journal!

It is very motivating to write down how much you managed to write or edit every session in a journal, and your thoughts on it, what you don’t want to forget editing later, how many chapters are done, etc. Once you start this habit you will soon see in your little, cute note book that you’ve been doing well and that you are actually productive, which is a really good feeling!

4. Don’t respond to any distractions during this time!

Your writing time is sacred. Put your cell phone on silent. Don’t check e-mails. Prepare that cup of coffee or tea beforehand. Don’t even answer the door or go to the bathroom unless you absolutely have to. Don’t do anything else. Write those words. You can do it – one word at a time!

(Exception: If you do have kids you attend to simultaneously, you will obviously have to respond to their questions every now and then…)

5. Make your writing space inviting!

What kind of surrounding invites you to write? Make your writing space this way! Personally, I love it when the desk is free before I start. During the day the piles of notes that were stacked in my shelves grow like mountains on the desk around me, and I love this, too. I still tidy it in the evening, because a tidy desk is a boost to my creativity and makes me want to do it all over the next day. Are there any colours, sayings, decorations, books etc. that appeal to you? Decorate your writing space the way you like it the best to make sure you would want to sit down there again tomorrow!

6. Have a plan for the days when the story seems stuck!

There are several ways to work around the so-called, much rumored “writer’s block”. One way is to use mind-maps about the plot situationin the story and write down what every character is seeing, feeling, sensing and wanting in that moment. Another solution could be to plan the story in advance and just go for it – follow the plan from A to B. It could also be possible to work on another part of the story – you don’t have to write it all chronologically. It can also help to simply reread the last part, open your heart, start writing and see what spills out. I’ve used all of the tricks above several times, and I never really have to stop writing because of “writer’s block”. Know what to do for those days you feel stuck! Make a plan! And use it.

7. Know your characters so well that you WANT to spend time with them!

Know all the characters in your story inside-out! What motivates them? From what point and to what point do they develop during the story? Give them time to develop. Make them sympathetic but flawed. Funny flaws are good. Nobody likes a perfect hero, or even worse, a perfect villain. The more you understand even your villains, the better your story gets. Truly see what’s going on beneath the surface – and enjoy what your characters start teaching YOU about your story… Let your awesome characters take you on for a ride.

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8. Love your destiny!

Remind yourself often of why you write. Is it an inner urge? Is it the one thing you absolutely WANT to do for a living? If you answered YES – well, that’s awesome! It is your destiny to enrich others with stories that touch us, scare us, make us laugh and perhaps even cry. This is your job. Be proud of it. Own the title. You are a writer. It is your job to be a magician, to use words and turn them into stories. If it is, to you, the best job ever, and you manage to be grateful for your opportunity to actually write, those steps over to your chair and your laptop become so much lighter! For more tips how to work on a positive creative mind-set, to set yourself up for success, read this. A positive mind-set will boost your writing!

9. Stop your writing sessions in time!

Don’t wait until you have absolutely nothing more to say for the day to wrap up the session! It is so much easier to keep going the next day if you stop at a good place, where you still know what you want to write next and it still feels easy!

10. Reward yourself afterwards!

Biologically seen we all really do respond to rewards just as well as Pavlov’s dog, if we manage to find the right one for us. If we get a nice treat (even a cup of coffee, a chocolate, a walk or time with the kids) as a reward after the writing time, we will literally start responding to our writing time with pleasant anticipation and a good mood. You wrote today! Good for you! Now go and be kind to yourself – and allow the feeling of how good it does you!

***

How is Butt in chair working for you?

Do you have any more tips to add to the list?

I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Did you like these tips? Perhaps even found them helpful?

I would as always be absolutely thrilled if you would share my article with others!

Keep following your dreams, guys, you can do it!

Best,

A.J. Lundetræ

butt in chair ajl3 you can do it

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4 thoughts on “10 Quick Tips How to Improve the Art of B.i.c. H.o.k. (Butt in chair, Hands on keyboard)

  1. That’s a brilliant list Agnete. I think a lot of problems begin by certain assumptions some writers make. For example, the assumption that one writes and the product of writing is the complete work, ready to be published. This view is oversimplified and technically correct if one sees the writing process as a black box: enter inspiration, exit book. But that view lacks in detail and understanding of the complexity the writing processes carry and the vast amount of time they need to be completed. Editing, for example, is seldom looked to be part of the writing process – a false assumption – and thus it’s something many writers (including professionals) heavily dislike.

    I think the single most important thing any writer who wants to write full time needs to do, is appreciate writing for what it is: it’s work. Yes, it’s work that heavily involves creativity but it’s work. So the question is: do they want to put the same amount of effort they would put in any work? I mean, one wouldn’t go to their workplace and instead of doing what they are paid for, do anything but, because they don’t feel like it. Writing is exactly the same, only we are our own bosses. Everything else is the same. Learn, focus with discipline, be present as often as possible, believe in yourself, read, etc. Sounds simple doesn’t it? And yet it includes such a significant effort and perseverance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for your comment and your support, Aura!

    Yes, don’t we all start out with this naive box-thinking-idea about how you just need to write the story and then it’s finished? 🙂 I completely agree, editing is such an imporant part of the writing process!

    Yes!!! When I started seeing my writing as a part of my work, as work I do for a living, it completely changed how “serious” I take my scheduled writing sessions. Excellent point!!! Could I perhaps get your permission to use that idea as a base for a blog post about how to develop the creative mind-set further? 😀 I’m thinking a blog post on how writing is a JOB that we need to see as a job. Brilliant idea.

    I wish you a creative, productive, happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Agnete. Go for it, it’s a good subject. The only comment I want to make is the distinction between job and work but that’s maybe just inside my head. See, the word ‘work’ comes to me as something I love doing and earns me a living. A job is something I may do to earn my living but not necessarily love. I can always say “it’s just a job” whereas “it’s just a work” makes no sense. But as I said it’s probably just me. So ignore me. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a great point! I agree! It’s actually like that in German, too; the word “job” is just any job to get by. Work is really a word for something you want to do. Thanks for mentioning it. 😀 Especially since the word “jobb” in Norwegian can be used to describe both job and work – I guess using the word job about writing was bits of my Norwegian heritage slipping through 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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