Leave it, yeah.

Writing Tips

As far as tips for the modern writer go, this is an obvious one—and I’m certainly not the first person to advocate it—but lately it’s been the most helpful piece of advice anyone’s ever given me. The fact that I gave it to myself makes me doubly happy.

Every morning, I get up and go to the coffee shop to write. After I’ve taken my seat and got my stuff sorted—coffee, toast, juice, notepad and pen—I’ll get started quite quickly, scribbling away, free-hand, blah, blah, blah. After a few minutes, though, what normally happens is that I let go of the pen and reach for the phone. You know. Just because. Just because I haven’t checked it for a whole three minutes, and someone might’ve sent me a message, or liked one of my photos on Instagram, or because there’s probably a really interesting article been posted on Facebook that I should read. Or, or, or. Because, let’s face it, none of us needs a reason to look at our phone—we just do it. Our brains have been reconfigured to check our phones randomly, frequently, or whenever we’re “bored”.

But, for the purposes of productivity, and—more importantly—creativity, I’ve started leaving my phone at home when I go out to write. Or in the car outside, at least. I mean, let’s not go nuts here. Baby steps and all that. Still, as a direct result, I’ve found that I’m writing for longer. Delving deeper—going farther down the rabbit hole during each session, so to speak. And yeah, at first, it was weird. My brain and my hand, they were like, er… dude? Wtf? What the hell are we supposed to do now? But after a while, they were all, well, seeing as there’s nothing else to do, we might as well just carry on with this thing in front of us…

As I said, as far as hot tips go, I know this might not be the hottest—technology? A distraction? No. WAY. Thanks, Matt!—but I don’t think we should underestimate the benefits of removing that distraction, however temporarily. For me, so far, it’s made a massive difference. It’s an exciting time…