My writing workshop starts tonight. Although we'll be a lot of meditating, writing exercises, talking and laughing the foundation that supports all of the above is simple: writing hours. Just last night I wrote to my Brooklyn writing buddy Lauren and said, "I have an appointment in the city at 11:30...then I have to be home in the afternoon to watch my daughter...and (blah blah blah blah blah)...I can't meet tomorrow to write. Well, I could but I'd have to do 8:30 to 10:45 and I just don't see myself being able to get up that early. I have (paid) work I have to do that'll keep me up late tonight. (More blah blah blah)..."


It was my friend's birthday so maybe she was struck by some kind of magical writing muse, but she said the words that sealed the deal and allowed me to make it out of my house and to get almost three hours of writing done. She gave me the fiction challenge. "I'll meet if you will!" and then did some charming arm-twisting. It didn't take much, because I knew in my heart that real life and "real" work had been taking me off course and away from my love project for the past week. I told her "Okay, but you've got to give me a wake-up call at 7:30!"


Here we are, and good we feel!


So, here for you are my top three practical tips for getting your a&^ in gear and getting to the thing you love: your work, your REAL work as a writer:


1. Mark down a writing schedule on your calendar. There's a reason you don't forget doctor's appointments, PTA meetings, and hooker conventions: you write 'em down!


2. Write first, email later. We all have tons of correspondence -- real and imagined -- that we "must get to."  But actually, those business administration emails, notes to pals and other sundries can wait. Imagination can't. Get on a roll and stay on a roll. Communicate with yourself and with your potential readers. Don't act like a teenager with her first phone. Self-control, matey! Postpone the blather.


3. Give yourself a goal for your writing session. Whether it's "revise chapters six, seven and eight", "do a character bio for Henry Bagelman", or :free write to open up creative channels", it helps to have a little focus.


For more tricks of the trade, check out my book,

Bang the Keys . And for tomorrow, ask a writing buddy for a wake up call!

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