Our own Jan was kind enough to share how she’s been using the kaizen approach to kickstart her writing:
Lynn: After reading and posting on your site, I did some serious soul searching, changed some things and just added the following as a post on my writer’s group.
So… I’m not writing. I keep asking myself, “What’s wrong?” I’m getting bunches of “stuff” done every day – living between home office and an RV, meeting with contractors to finally begin work on home restoration, a small surgery, running a business, mail, bills, balancing check books, husband surgeries, being POA on a failing aunt and uncle, yada yada yada… living life but not writing. Then I visited a website Hunter mentioned: The Kaizen Plan (an Oriental word for “continuous improvement.” http://smallstepstobigchange.com/
Over the past week, I’ve asked myself some serious questions. Why is everything more important than my writing? Why don’t “I” make it on my list of “To Do Today:?”
I began adding in 10 minute increments of writing and felt … amazing. Then I pondered my life-style and how I really enjoy working. I enjoy working hard. I remembered that when I did my undergrad work, I did a triple. Yes, you heard right – a triple: art, creative writing and literature. Okay so with eight children, it’s a lifestyle now. Not so much a choice.
I needed something more. I rearranged my gmail folder and put “A Writer” filefolder at the head of the list. It’s a constant reminder that I am a writer and a reminder that writers write every day. Next I set up two additional Scrivener projects and keep them on my desktop. My YA fiction – “The Questing Pearl;” my non-fiction novel- “The Deplorable Child;” and my craft book – “Right, Write, and Wordwright.”
Guess what? I’m writing every day. I’m feeling better, more in balance, more creative. I was trying to pare down life when all I needed to do was balance the scales.
Thanks, Lynn. You remind me of an old adage: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
I just want to point out how small the changes were that Jan made. She:
- created a folder in gmail and put it at the top of her folder list (less than 5 minutes)
- created a project in her writing software for each manuscript (I don’t use Scrivener, but I’m guessing that wasn’t more than 10-15 minutes per project)
- started writing in 10 minute increments
And that was all it took to get her going again.
For another kaizen approach to kickstarting your writing when you’re stuck, here’s Anne Marie Novark’s “Ten Easy Steps to Get Back in the Writing Groove:”
Where are you stuck?
What small, simple step could you take to get going again?
P.S. For those of you who left comments on my post at Her Online Bookshelf on Monday or Tuesday morning, I apologize — due to a technical glitch with the blog software, it seems that some of them were lost. I don’t want you to miss out, though, so I’m going to do a second drawing for The Kaizen Plan for Healthy Eating. Anyone who emails me at kaizenlynn AT gmail DOT com by Friday, 9/16/11, will be entered!
And if you haven’t had a chance to check that blog post out, it’s a look at Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and the Hare as it embodies the strategies of innovation and incrementalism when trying to change your life.