Unorthodox Writing Tips 2: Take a Shower

I work at home three or four day a week. To most this sounds like a dream come true. Well, I ain’t complaining. It does come with its perks. Like being able to work in my pajamas from time to time. Well, ok. Most of the time. I can honestly say that I love my job and the freedoms it offers me. Yes, there are times (and many of them) where I’m up early and working late. Being that I enjoy my work, I don’t mind.

But there are times when I get up, roll over to the computer, slog through my email and have a tough time getting started. Even when I’ve gotten into a routine things don’t always flow as smoothly as I would like. If I’m in a particularly bad mood I’ll just try to keep working through the funk.

Then there are days where I find myself sitting and staring at the screen willing the code to write itself. I don’t want to write that piece of code. I don’t want to edit that file. I don’t want to upload that data.

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a computer programmer. I do web applications that interface with databases. Ninety-Nine percent of the time I am excited to sit down and start working. I love getting up at 5:30am and I’ve worked twenty hours straight.

So what do I do on those days when I just don’t feel it? When I can’t get myself to start typing? I hop in the shower.

Sounds silly? Well, for me I usually don’t shower until midday. I like to get up and dive into my work. I’ve gotten into a routine and around lunchtime I’ll grab a quick bite and a shower and I’m ready for he second half of my day. So I’ve gotten it in my brain that shower time is wake up time. Even though I’ve been awake for hours before I do that, I know that when I go back to the computer I’m ready to go. It wakes up my brain and I’m firing on all cylinders.

Why should this be important to you? Why should you take a second shower or even a third? Well, before I got the job I currently have I would get up in the morning, take a shower, and go to work. I would work my job, come home and be too wiped out from the day to write. So I’d put it off and flop down in front of the television and say to myself, “I’ll get to it later.”

I didn’t.

So I started coming home and after dinner I would do the dishes and then take a quick shower. Initially I just wanted to wash off the day. Really. I had no other motives. I just wanted to feel fresh before I went to bed. What I wound up doing was thinking about the story I was working on. The shower would be telling my brain, “It’s time to go to work.” So I would get out of the shower and sit down at the computer and I started writing. My brain had been engaged and was ready to get to work. I no longer felt like just sitting and watching television. I wanted to do something.

So I know that it’s November. It’s NaNoWriMo time again. So when you get home from that daily job. When you’ve done your house work. When you feel like it’s time to crank out those 1600 words for the day, take yourself a quick shower, get into some comfy clothes, and get to work.

Even beyond NaNoWriMo this can help you whenever you feel the need to write. Even it it’s just washing your face and then sitting down to write. This is a little something that’s helped me many times when I feel ‘stuck’ or have even used the excuse “I have writer’s block.” So if you’re feeling sluggish or just can’t get into that writing groove, give it a try. Let me know what happens.

Until Next Time!


Posted on November 2, 2011, in Unorthodox Writing Tips and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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