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How To Go On A Writing Date

Hola Love Bug!

Today is the first day that I’ve had totally to myself in a while and I’ve had a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to get out on paper. My writer side needs, no…craves, that special space that is just for creating. This usually means somewhere besides my desk. I need to disconnect from my normal Virtual Assistant tasks and even my desktop computer screen in order to make the mind shift into writing mode.

Sometimes this means I move to the living room or the war room (a/k/a dining room lined with whiteboards) and even the bedroom.

Sometimes.

Sometimes that doesn’t work the way I need it to.  Do you want to know what works best for me?

Leaving the freaking house!

I love working from home, but the energy shift that happens when I leave the house and go somewhere that has a writers vibe puts my little fingers in typing heaven. My mind is able to disconnect from all of the other things that are going on in my business and allows me to focus more and become inspired.

I call these Writing Dates.

There are some essentials to creating the perfect writing date that I have found that work best for me. I’ve broken them down into 7 simple steps for you.

Step 1: Schedule a time

Our lives are busier than ever. Even when it feels like nothing important is getting done. Creating time to write is something that is necessary for several reasons.

  1. It tells your brain that you are creating that space for it to focus on one particular thing. It a sacred space in time that your mind craves. Your stress and anxiety will thank you for it.
  2. It tells others around you that you are serious about this whole writing thing and it creates a level of respect. By setting a time, it sets up a boundary around that time that both you and others will respect. If they don’t it’s up to you to enforce it.
  3. It sends a signal to the Universe that you are serious and when you are serious and focused about it, things like ideas on what to write about start to flow better. (See #1)

Step 2: Find the perfect place to go

Start by looking for a local coffee shop, cafe, restaurant or even the local library, preferably somewhere that offers free Wi-Fi. It doesn’t matter how fast the Wi-Fi is, because your focus is going to be on writing and not surfing the web. It’s just handy for getting onto your blog or to grab your manuscript from the cloud server, or wherever your writing is camping out online. If you do your writing straight from your hard drive, then you don’t have to worry about the Wi-Fi part.

I like to use the Yelp app on my iPhone to find neat new places around me. You can also look up local coffee shops through findmecoffee.com or just use the ol’ trusty Google.

The perfect, ideal spot is different for everyone, but you have to admit that all those stories you hear about writers in coffee shops or cafes just works. It shows people that you are working and even if you don’t realize it, your subconscious will think that everyone around you is holding you accountable for finishing the work.

If you can’t leave where you are at, you can always recreate the coffee shop sounds through the Coffinity app.

Step 3: Bring the essentials

I have a laptop bag that will pack everything I need in it. it’s like a diaper bag for my business. These are the things that I bring on my writing date to be sure I’m prepared but not over doing.

  1. Laptop
  2. Pen & Notepad. I am addicted to my girly 4-in-1 pen and moleskine journal. I keep these in my purse at all times to I can jot down those important ideas that just like to happen whenever.
  3. Business Cards. You never know who you are going to meet. 😉
  4. Wi-Fi card. (Just in case you end up at the park or a place that has sucky Wi-Fi and need it)
  5. Earbuds or Headphones. You can’t always control your environment and if it becomes too distracting you can put headphones on and listen to SimplyNoise to help you focus.

Step 4: Survey your surroundings

When you step into the coffee shop or cafe, look around and be sure there is somewhere for you to sit and that you want to be there. Locate the bathroom (necessary when drinking lots of liquids) and a plug for your laptop. I always like to scope out the most comfortable seat possible. (See step 6)

Step 5: Get some munchies

Having something to snack and sip on is essential for writing. Coffee shops are ideal spots to grab your favorite drink and snack. By having something to keep your mouth busy, it helps keep your brain focused on the task at hand.

Step 6: Get comfortable

Some people can pound out their thoughts in minutes while it may take others hours to formulate a blog post. I’m somewhere in the middle of that. I find that I work best under a little pressure. When I have a particular thing I want to write about, the focus from the clarity helps to energize me and write faster, but there are always snags and hangups (great time to grab a munchie or a sip of coffee while your brain works out the snag).

Knowing this, you want to allow yourself at least an hour to write. Find somewhere you will be comfortable sitting for at least an hour. I like to give myself a time limit because I really don’t have all day to write as I please. I have other things to do too.

Step 7: Enjoy the process

Writing something isn’t meant to be a grueling, painful process. It’s meant to get whatever you’ve been yearning to share with the world out there. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to get done. You can always go back and edit it later.

Remember to look up every once and a while to gaze out the window and smile at the girl who is running outside and just got caught in a rain storm.

hugs-kisses-wishes-signature-600x369

 

P.S. The first Saturday in September is National Writing Date Day. If you’d like to join in the fun of having a Writing Date with other writers through the net (and to see what everyone is up to, because that’s the best part), then just click the button below to join! (It’s totally free!)

23 Comments on “How To Go On A Writing Date

Kelly McCausey
July 14, 2014 at 6:53 pm

You make it sound delicious Natalie! I’ve been on Writing Dates with myself and even enjoyed Writing Retreats (otherwise known at kitty sitting for my sister.). Really good things happen when I’m out of my usual environment.

Thanks for putting it down like this – I’m going to recommend this post to all my peeps!

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Natalie Marie Collins
July 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

They ARE delicious! I find them so necessary, especially for us Solopreneurs. Thanks for recommending it!

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Natalie Explains A Writing Date
July 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm

[…] via How To Go On A Writing Date – NatalieMarieCollins.com. […]

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Tishia Lee
July 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Great post Natalie. I’ve never really been on a writing date, but I have done the writing retreat like Kelly mentioned above. I was kitty sitting with her at her sister’s house and I couldn’t believe how “easy” it was to finish up a 5,000 word report (I had about 1,000 words done when I went on the writing retreat). It definitely proved to me that writing is/was easier when I wasn’t in my normal environment. Hmmm….I think I need to schedule some writing dates 🙂

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Natalie Marie Collins
July 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

I love, love, love that you are discovering this for yourself! Let me know how your writing dates go for you. 🙂

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[…] like to take it a step further and date myself in all kinds of different ways. Whether it’s a writing date or just a normal date-date that you would normally go on with someone […]

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Jendi
July 18, 2014 at 9:30 pm

I’ve never actually done this. I’ve heard of this lots and it sounds great; I guess I just never did it. I’ve had a babysitter in and closed myself off in the house, but never left the house. Now I kind of want to. Thanks for sharing!

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Natalie Marie Collins
August 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm

You’re welcome, Jendi! I would love to hear about the difference it makes for you to get yourself out of the house! To me, it’s amazing what a little change of scenery can do for our productivity.

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Ramsay
July 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

This is great. My girlfriend is also an entrepreneur and business coach and she uses this with people in her sphere of influence with some Powerful results.

Accountability is a great tool and when she and I have used it together for working dates or working blocks of time we get a lot of business done

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Natalie Marie Collins
August 17, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Oh, I love hearing this, Ramsay! I find Writing Dates to be super powerful too, not to mention the great sense of accomplishment from having these blocks of time to myself. It makes my inner writer and biz gal super happy!

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Kristen Eckstein
August 20, 2014 at 9:57 am

So now I REALLY want to go on a Writing Date! I don’t wanna wait until September 6! LOL!

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Natalie Marie Collins
August 20, 2014 at 11:10 am

You can go anytime! September 6th is to celebrate Writing Dates as a whole. 🙂

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Ute Goldkuhle
August 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Natalie, I have gone on writing dates or reading dates before but was really not aware of the intentions as you so well point out in the post. I just grabbed a yellow pad and pen – still love that – and go to my favorite park (bring my own chair) or to a book store. Reading your post I realized that I have not done that for a long time.
Now, the way you describe it, I don’t want to wait until Sept. 6 but plan to do a trial run to my favorite place: Barnes & Nobles around here. They have the best pastries and comfy chairs. I already enjoy it just thinking about it!

Thanks for that fun inspiration and your invite. Will keep you posted!

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[…] friend Natalie wrote about how to go on a Writing Date recently and it sparked a whole new idea that led to National Writing Date Day!  Don’t you […]

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Camille
August 23, 2014 at 1:29 am

Thank you for having this! I will be participating. But as far as social media is concerned, I only work with LinkedIn. I am learning Google + or hangouts? but I don’t do FB so I can’t be in your FB group (or Twitter). I hope this doesn’t hinder the process.

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Natalie Marie Collins
August 23, 2014 at 6:38 am

Hey Camille! Thanks for joining! You don’t really need to know about Google Hangouts to join. I’ll send a link so you can listen in and ask questions so you won’t have to worry about all the techie stuff. 🙂

As far as the Facebook group and Twitter, it’s a great way to connect with the Writing Date community, but not required. I’ll keep you updates on everything through email.

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Elizabeth
August 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm

What a fantastic idea Natalie! And thank you to Kelly McCausey whom I met yesterday for sharing the event.

Sail Away Girl

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Natalie Marie Collins
September 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Hi Elizabeth! Great to hear from you!

Isn’t Kelly wonderful? She just makes me smile every time I see her. I’m so glad you were able to join us for National Writing Date Day. I hope you will join me every month now. 🙂

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Camille
August 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Thank you SO much, Natalie. I appreciate this!
Very ready for the writing date!!

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Natalie Marie Collins
September 9, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Camille! I’m so glad you joined in! 🙂

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Elizabeth
September 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Hi, and thank you!
I especially love your affection for coffee house atmospheres and your links to noise apps, they’re wonderful!

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Natalie Marie Collins
September 9, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Hi to you Elizabeth!

There is just something about coffee houses that just call my name (laptop in tow). I can’t help myself. Glad you like the noise apps. They are essential for when you need to get stuff done and can’t seem to find a quiet spot.

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Khrys
August 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Had set this date aside already. Now I have company 🙂 Make it great!

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