got mojo?

I’ve got these 10 steps to writing a book that makes a difference and frankly, even if you aren’t writing a book, these steps can be pretty kick ass.

One of my favorites is step 4… Focus your Author Mojo

Focusing Your Author Mojo is all about finding what works for you. 

Back when I was still in college I worked for this NY Times Best Selling author named David Wise. Every morning when I arrived at the office, the door between his office and mine was shut and David was writing.

He wrote every morning until he reached his requisite 5 pages. When he was done, he’d reward himself with his favorite treat, a swim in the YMCA pool just down the block from the office. No pages. No swim.

And so it went for years. He’d write and reward. Write and reward.

When I first starting coaching people on writing their books I would give them this advice:

  1. Set a daily page count.
  2. Pick a reward.
  3. When you are done writing, give yourself the reward.

Simple, right? So why weren’t my clients listening to me?

Week after week they would admit their failures and beat themselves up about their broken promises to themselves.

Eventually I realized the problem was I was feeding them DAVID’S AUTHOR MOJO!  My clients – every author, in fact – needs to find their own author mojo.

One of my clients wrote her entire book in 15 minute writing sessions early in the morning. 15 minutes of focused writing a day was what worked for her!

One of my new authors works best from 4am to 7am and that’s when he does his best work. He wrote his whole book staying up all night for 2 weeks straight. But hey, that’s his author mojo!

The truth is we all have our own circadian rhythms and our own preferences. Your job as an author-in-transformation isn’t to fit into the mold that works for someone else,  it’s to figure out what works for you. In fact, part of the beauty of becoming an author is the process of finding your own author mojo.

Once I realized this, I stopped trying to shove David’s successful methods down my clients’ throats and I began a process of helping my clients experiment to identify what worked best for them. This worked infinitely better! And it’s not just psychological — there is real science behind how and why this works.

There was an article this week in the New York Times Magazine that explains everyone has their own “chronotype” or unique circadian rhythm. When we are forced to work outside of our chronotype – we can do it – but it doesn’t produce ideal results. 

“People with an early chronotype may do well with a 7 a.m. workday rising time, but others do not. Sleeping out of sync with your innate preferences can be detrimental to your health…”

This is hard science. It can actually be detrimental to your health to work against your chronotype — so it’s no wonder if you are doing something optional, like writing a book, your body is going to protect you from hurting yourself by making it impossible for you to write out of sync with your chronotype.

Read the full article here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/17/everyday-jet-lag/?_r=0

So what’s an author-in-transformation to do?

PLAY!

Test different writing times and days and see when you are most productive. Make sure you test the time of day as well as the length of the writing session

  1. Set up timed tests with writing prompts and see when you get the most words with the least editing.
  2. Keep a log of when you started and finished writing, how you felt physically while you were writing, and how many words or pages you wrote.
  3. Once you have done a half dozen tests or so, look at your log and see if you can help determine your author mojo.

Focusing your author mojo will make you a happier and more productive writer.

P.S. There is still time to join me to write your book in November for free as a part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. To join me:
If you picked DARE – here’s what you need to do right now:

  1. Register to participate at http://nanowrimo.org/sign_up
  2. Become my writing buddy by going to my profile and clicking “Add as a Buddy” in the top right corner – http://nanowrimo.org/participants/authorincubator
  3. Say hello over at the Friends of the Author Incubator Forum thread – http://nanowrimo.org/forums/nano-rebels/threads/123828