Nothing motivates Frank more than a blank page or screen to get around to washing the dishes, sorting the mail and returning calls. After all that work, he often feels he needs a snack, or perhaps a cup of tea, before he can finally settle down to write.
For some writers, this type of "preparatory procrastination" can be a useful transition to help them shift from outward "doing" to sitting down to write. For many others, though, procrastination leads them far, far away from the page or screen.
Before I became a life coach, I learned a powerful technique to help me get going and stay working when I wanted to write. My clients now boost their productivity with bookending, and you can, too.
What It Is:
"Bookending" is the simple process of alerting a supportive friend when you begin and when you stop working on a project. This technique provides us with:
- a witness to our process
How it works:
Before: Before I'd sit down to write, I'd make a quick phone call: "Hi, it's Marla. I'm working on my piece now...I think I'll be at it for an hour. I'll call you when I'm through."
During: During the work session, even if I was only able to leave a message for my friend, I worked with more focus. "Gotta' report back after I'm done, and I don't wanna' let him down!"
After: When I closed the laptop, I'd give a quick call back: "Hey...me again. Finished for today and have goals outlined for tomorrow. Thanks for being there."
Simple, huh? If you're bookending with a life coach, you have the support and knowledge that he or she is tracking your progress, holding you accountable and heavily invested in your success. Bookending with peers builds community and camaraderie. In all forms, bookending works.
Bookending with Twitter
Today's technology enables us to bookend by phone, text message, email or online chat. Posting to Twitter.com offers writers immediate community and support using microblogging: --posting short status updates in 140 characters or less.
Here's a sample thread of bookending posts using Twitter:
@ MarlaBeck Going well...getting up for a quick break. Will check in again b4 resuming writing.
@ MarlaBeck I'm back. Writing.
@ MarlaBeck Bookending: Done! A solid first draft...will revise tomorrow. Tks, everyone!
Creating bookending posts ("tweets") on Twitter enables you to update your personal community members--people who are interested enough in you and your updates to click a link to become your "followers"--immediately. They track your progress and support your work. Can you see the benefits of using Twitter to communicate with a broad and supportive community, on demand?
Bookending using Twitter provides one other advantage. Twitter archives your "tweets," creating a tangible archive of your bookending statements. Reviewing a list of your bookends over time provides you with a powerful record of your progress towards your writing goals.
>>Visit www.twitter.com to create a user account. (Feel free to look me up: @MarlaBeck)
>>Bookend a writing session with a friend via phone this week.
>>Once you've begun to create community online, try bookending a work session using Twitter.
How do you write when you bookend (vs. not)? What bookending method are you drawn to? Stop back by and leave a comment with your thoughts and ideas.