Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What the FLY LADY taught me about writing...

Have you shined your sink today?

Are you dressed to lace-up shoes?

And what does this have to do with my writing anyway?

If you know what a "Room Rescue" or a "27 Fling Boogie" is, chances are you have visited Marla Cilley (AKA The Fly Lady)'s website. Perhaps you're like me and organization does not come naturally to you.

I'm here to share what FlyLady has taught me about the way I write and how to improve my writing. In hopes that some of these tips might help someone else. 

Go shine your sink.

OK, hold that Ajax and come back to the computer. I don't mean literally. But think about it.

FlyLady tells you to first shine your sink. This is the only step for the first day. 

She knows the POWER of ONE THING.

What's your one thing? What do you most need to add to your writing? Working on one area, keeping in mind it will never be perfect, can make such a difference whether its focusing on a single scene or a single aspect of your novel. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed (or at least I can) with all the improvement I would like to make in so many areas of my writing. We can get paralyzed there. So work on that one thing. One character. One scene. One page at a time. Then slowly add.

Its about "baby-stepping" and not "obsessing."

Getting dressed to  lace-up shoes.

When I first found the FlyLady website I hated the idea of wearing shoes inside all day. But it works (at least for me). The idea is that we move faster when we're wearing shoes.

Just as we get prepared for the day, are you preparing yourself for your writing time? I find when I just sit down I don't always do my best work. 

For me praying first and closing my eyes and spending a few minutes getting back into the scene are musts. They help me prepare for writing and actually help me to accomplish more, just as putting on your lace-up shoes motivates you to get your day started.

Harness the power of routines.

"Born Organized" people do this naturally. Others of us have to force it. What is the routine to your writing life? I discovered writing wouldn't just "happen", I needed to schedule it in my busy life. 

Is your writing at the best possible time? If you are scheduling your writing early in the morning, are you able to get enough sleep to write your best? If you write during an afternoon nap for your kiddos are you finding that time gets pushed off...or maybe you get irritated when they wake up as you barely start your scene?

Where do you write? Does this allow for the atmosphere you need to get your best writing done? I realize this isn't always possible, especially if you have young children in your home. But is there a way you can make your writing area feel like a retreat?

What do you do before and after your writing? Can you take a moment today to reflect on what is and isn't working in just today's writing?

Do you have a good routine to the rest of your day? I know if chaos seeps into my house or another part of my life, it has a tendency to slip into my writing life. 

What is one small change you can make today to impact your writing life? 

Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys reading and reviewing books for The Title Trakk, a Christian review site.


Joanne Sher said...

Great stuff! I tried flylady, and the only thing that sticked was the shoes (and even that stopped after a couple years). But these are SUPER writing tips. THANKS!

Casey said...

I love this post Julia! Esp. since I obsess instead of taking baby steps. Really, really great. :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

@ Joann,

I think she has some ideas that are applicable in a lot of areas. P.S. I'm a return flybaby, too. Got out of the habits.

@ Casey,

Yes, the baby steps is such a big one. Something I "forgot" last night getting obsessed about my scene.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Julia, great post today! I admit, I haven't been disciplined enough to do everything FlyLady recommends, but I definitely see the value of everything she shares. I do shine my sink. :) I have always been good about things like making my bed and getting dressed (but shoes are NOT worn in our house--they're right outside the door, in the garage, though).

I love the idea of figuring out changes to make my writing life better--and trying to remove some chaos. Last month, I had a great writing month! I discovered early morning writing works for me. I usually pray before I put fingers to keyboard, but I hadn't thought to get into the scene in my midn before writing. Thanks for that!

Now, I just need to get back in the habit of going to bed early so I can get up early. I'll also have to consider the best place for my writing time. Love the ideas you shared!

Beth K. Vogt said...

OK, I had to close my eyes and not look at the e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s fly face photo!
Excellent post.
I've done the FlyLady thing. I start off well and then get overwhelmed by all the one thing, and now this one thing and then this one thing ...
Kinda like the rest of my life.
But I've kept some of her key principles like: You can do anything for 15 minutes. And cleaning one are at a time. And knowing my hot spots (where the clutter lands.)
What is one small change I could make today to impact my writing life?
Putting a timer on so that social media doesn't eat up so much of my time.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks, Julia
I too obsess and need to be happy about the baby steps. Great post!

Laura Frantz said...

Julia, You always introduce me to something new - I'm adding FlyLady to my list;) Such a thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Like you, I find I have to pray before I write. I feel "covered" that way as I don't want to write anything that doesn't honor Him. And sometimes the flesh gets in the way! Baby steps are important.

I ws thinking of your goal for writing your current WIP and being near the finish line. I wrote TFD over a 10 year period and took 5 years off in the middle. When I look back I can't believe I ever got it done. But for those little increments you talk about. You're obviously putting them into practice. We'll have to have a party come finish time!

Sarah Forgrave said...

I've never heard of Flylady, but I love these tips. Thanks, Julia! You've got me thinking about that one thing I can change... :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

@ Jeanne,

I don't blame you about the shoes bit. Never been a fan of them myself, but it works for me for some reason. Thanks for sharing what you changed about your routine. I think that's something that I have to continually re-evaluate.

@ Beth,

OK, after posting I wondered if people would think I was writing about the Bug Man novels (which I haven't read but heard are fantastic). Sorry to gross you out. I need to do the timer thing for my email I think.

@ Mary,

Its so easy to do, isn't it? God has such a gentle way of reminding us which I so need.

Julia M. Reffner said...

@ Laura,

Flylady has some fun stuff on her site. :) You're always introducing your readers to fun new stuff like the book covers. Thanks for the encouragement. Knowing about your first novel is such an encouragement to me that slow and steady works.

Angie Dicken said...

Hmm, I have tried leaving comments today, it's just not working...BLOGGER!!Grr. Love this, Julia! I wore shoes all day today...which is really hard for me because we take them off at the door usually. But it helped! Don't know if helped my writing life, but it sure helped get the laundry done! :)