There’s more to writing than writing. Everything in your life affects your ability to write. Your personal life, professional life, hobbies, emotional state, physical state, ability to focus, habits, mindsets, the conditions in which you live… All of this—and more—makes a huge difference on whether or not you sit down and produce words each day.
That’s why you can’t focus just on writing. If you want to write, you have to learn to navigate your life—internally and externally.
Life Destroys Focus
Recently I found myself worried about one of my children. The more my mind ruminated on my child and his condition, the less focused I became on my work in progress. I also found my energy waning. Additionally, my mood declined, causing me to feel less motivated to write.
As you can imagine, my productivity decreased considerably during this time. I felt like I couldn’t or didn’t want to write.
I recently returned from a short trip to Europe. I came back feeling off—my stomach wasn’t 100%—and I was jet lagged. I just couldn’t seem to catch up on my sleep. Every time I’d sit down to write, I felt tired and “yucky.” So I wrote…but not much.
I’m sure you can relate even if your scenarios are a bit different than mine.
Life distracted me, and I bet it distracts you, too.
You are the Distraction
It’s true; life gets in the way of writing sometimes. That doesn’t only happen when you are called away to take care of an elderly parent or child, your car breaks down and requires that you spend the day at the dealership getting it fixed, your spouse asks for a divorce, or you have a crisis at your day job.
Life also “happens” when you don’t address your internal state of being. You need strategies for dealing with life so your internal state remains balanced.
Here’s the truth of the matter: It’s how you respond to life that provides the distractions that keep you from writing. Your internal state provides the real distraction from your work.
Simply said: You are the problem. More specifically, your emotions and thoughts are the problems.
How do you ensure you have the clarity, energy, habits, and mindset to help you write productively? How do you handle your emotions and thoughts, so they don’t get in the way of churning out the words? These are important questions to answer. The answers give you a way to write more productively no matter what.
Work on You—the Writing will Follow
To become a productive and successful writer, work on yourself first. Then work on your work in progress.
I push myself to develop mindsets and habits that support my writing. In other words, I work on me. That means I put an enormous amount of energy and time into my personal development. Doing so allows me to better deal with whatever happens in my life that could take me away from writing or make it hard to write productively. It helps me manage my thoughts and emotions.
When I manage my internal environment, I manage my external environment and the situations in which I find myself. I, therefore, can write productively no matter what life throws my way.
The Three Internal States that Stop You from Writing
Three primary internal states impact your writing. They are:
If your energy is low or negative—you are tired, lethargic, or fidgety, you’ll find it difficult to write. If your emotions are negative—you feel anger, sadness, stress, or frustration—you will struggle to write. If your mindset is negative—you are focused on limiting beliefs and self-defeating thoughts, you’ll also struggle to write.
Four Ways to Manage Your Internal State
Here are four ways to manage these three internal states in a way that will help you maintain internal equilibrium—and write productively.
- Sleep—Your body requires rest. It also craves a consistent sleep schedule. Most of us need seven or eight hours of sleep to function at our best. When you feel rested, you come to the day and the computer with clarity and focus. You make better decisions. When something disrupts your day, you can maintain an positive internal state. You deal with differently if you are rested versus tired. Generally, you feel more positive if you sleep enough as well. Your physiology affects how you think and feel—and, therefore, how you write.
- Diet—You may think diet has nothing to do with how productively you write or deal with the stressors in your life. Just like sleep, however, diet affects your physiology, which affect your ability to be productive and deal with whatever comes up during the day from an emotional level, too. Some foods make you feel more lethargic, give you a sugar high (and then low), or make you feel unfocused. Watch what foods help, rather than hinder, your ability to maintain high energy and a positive attitude.
- Movement—You body is meant to move…not to sit at a desk for hours on end. Plus, your energy level and emotional state are, again, affected by your physiology. If you are feeling stressed, depressed, or worried, go for a walk, take a run, or lift weights. You’ll release helpful hormones that assist you in raising your energy level and your emotional state. That means you’ll be better equipped to handle what life throws your way—and to write productively in the midst of chaos.
- Routines and Habits—It’s amazing how the things we do daily affect our success as writers. Many of your routines or habits, however, don’t help you write.
If you have a habit of checking email in the morning, for instance, this distracts you from working on your book project. If you have a routine of doing everything else before you write, you’re work in progress remains your lowest priority, which means many days it won’t get your attention.
You also may have a habit of focusing on negative thoughts and self-talk. Your mental chatter can keep you feeling that you aren’t good enough, can’t do it, or are a failure.
Don’t know when you’re thinking such thoughts? Pay attention to your feelings. Your emotions turn negative when you are focused on negative thoughts.
To become a successful and productive writer, you need new routines and habits. Your current ones have only helped you achieve your current level of success. If you aren’t happy with that level, create new routines and habits that help you level up.
You might meditate each morning before you sit down to write, so you approach your work with clarity and focus. Maybe you block time to write at lunch each day—and use that time for writing. Or perhaps you spend time each day visualizing your desired outcomes and then taking three actions to get closer to that goal. You can decide on the routines and habits that will help you maintain internal equilibrium and write productively each day.
The Antidote to a Disruptive Internal State
If you need some help getting a handle on the “other” things that affect your writing—meaning your internal state, consider getting some high performance coaching. When I got coached by a Certified High Performance Coach, my writing world—in fact, my whole world (internally and externally) changed dramatically for the better. Suddenly I had way more control over my internal state, which meant I could control the results I achieved externally with my work in progress.
I was so impressed by how my new habits and mindsets affected my ability to write—how I could maintain my internal state, I became a Certified High Performance Coach. And now I offer the same training that helped me level up my writing productivity to other writers.
Th members of the High-Performance Writer Group Coaching Program achieve amazing results…not because we focus on writing skill in the sessions but because they work on their internal state. As they gain more clarity, courage, energy, productivity, and influence in all areas of their lives, they become more successful writers. They master their psychology and physiology, and that helps them master their writing.
If you struggle to maintain an internal state conducive to writing, join the next High-Performance Writer Group Coaching Program session. This proven, results-oriented program helps you maintain your internal equilibrium no matter what happens in your life. It is a personal development program for writers meant to help you gain clarity, energy, courage, productivity, and influence as you master yourself. You learn the habits, mindsets, and strategies of the world’s most successful writers.
The next session starts soon. Register now so you get from where you are now to where you want to be faster than you thought possible.