How to Write with Intention
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Sometimes it’s hard to “get in the flow” when it comes to writing. One of the best ways to enter the flow is to set clear intention about what you’re going to do when you sit down to write. In this episode of the Writing Momentum podcast, Chris and Gena discuss the power of writing with INTENTION.
Episode 23 Transcription:
[00:00:13].730] - Chris Welcome to the Writing Momentum. And I'm podcast. I'm Christopher Maselli, and I'm here with my wife, Gena. How's it going, Gena? [00:00:19].550] - Gena It's going pretty well. [00:00:21].030] - Chris Well, hey, I got some exciting news. [00:00:22].920] - Gena What is the exciting news? [00:00:24].190] - Chris Well, it turns out we are not only podcasting on the podcast through your favorite audio platform like Apple Podcasts or Spotify or anything like that, we are now also podcasting on YouTube, on video. So if you want to see our smiling faces, you can find us on YouTube each week. Also, some people like doing it like that. So we thought, oh, why not? It's not too hard to do that's kind of cool. [00:00:49].600] - Gena I'm hoping that we're going to be able to reach even more people with this by doing the video. Our hypothesis is that these are different groups of people, that some people like to listen to the podcast in their car, that some people might like to watch them on their phone or at home on YouTube or maybe even, I don't know, somewhere else. So we're hoping that we're just going to reach more people with encouragement in their writing. [00:01:22].920] - Chris Yeah. So the thing is here's the secret. We are kind of just fanatical about writing and about helping people get their writing done. [00:01:31].080] - Chris Right. [00:01:31].510] - Chris And so that's why we're wanting to get this message out there. [00:01:33].900] - Gena Absolutely. [00:01:34].360] - Chris Yeah. So what are we talking about today, Gena? [00:01:36].930] - Gena So today we are talking about writing with intention. [00:01:40].790] - Chris Intention. I like that word. [00:01:42].070] - Gena I know. I do, too. That's kind of a hot word right now of just having an intention when you start your day, when you just whatever. And it applies to writing as well. [00:01:55].220] - Chris Probably especially to writing, because most people, when they sit down to write, they write with inspiration, not intention. They think, I'm going to sit down. And when the inspiration hits, that's when I'm going to start writing. [00:02:13].350] - Gena Right. [00:02:13].940] - Chris But does that work? [00:02:15].670] - Gena No, because writing is a lot. It is creative. We don't want to in any way take away from the creativity of it. [00:02:25].530] - Chris That's why we come to it with thinking. We want to have the inspiration know that happens with creative endeavors. [00:02:32].250] - Gena Yes. But there is a certain amount of muscle memory that comes with it. The more you do it, the more you are faithful in what you're doing, the more you're used to tapping into that muscle, the better or the more fruit that you're going to get from it, the more that you're going to come away with having finished. So I think that's the thing is that when you come with intention, you're just going to get more out of it. And I think you're even going to enjoy the process more because you're going to have kind of goals in mind. [00:03:08].470] - Chris I think earlier in our careers, I was more often wanting to write with just inspiration. Right. I'm just going to sit down and write when I'm inspired. But what happens is as you start to get clients and get deadlines, like in a freelance writing career, you realize it doesn't matter whether I'm inspired or not. I have to get this done by the deadline. And so you start to say, okay, I need to figure out what my word count is going to be, what my goal is for today. And I'm just going to hit that and make it happen. And that's being intentional. But you can make that happen even if you're not writing for a client or trying to make something like that happen, like hitting a deadline. You can actually give yourself a deadline by saying, you know what, I'm going to go ahead and be intentional with my writing. I'm going to figure out where I want to go before this session. And I'm going to make sure that I just sit down and write for the next hour. [00:04:06].140] - Gena It's true. And when we're talking about being intentional, we're talking about it in a few different I think there are a few different contexts for it intentional. We're talking about being intentional with your time saying, okay, I'm going to look at my week that's coming up. And I know that on this day, at this time, for this long, I am going to sit down and that is my writing time, and I'm going to keep that appointment with myself. And it is a matter of logging it in on your paper planner, on your digital planner, wherever you want to do it, make that appointment just as though you are making an appointment with someone else . [00:04:47].530] - Chris For the dentist, right? [00:04:48].860] - Gena Exactly. [00:04:49].510] - Chris But this should be more enjoyable. [00:04:50].970] - Gena It should be more hopefully and do it recognize that that is an important time that's not just pie in the sky. Wouldn't it be nice that is an important time that you are making an important appointment that you are making and keeping for yourself. [00:05:16].310] - Chris It's so important that it's something that should be pretty much unbreakable. Right. Except for an emergency that you might like to say, okay, I'm going to also cancel my doctor's appointment's appointment. Right. Because, hey, I've got something that's an emergency that came up. Otherwise, this is an important time. This is the time that I'm going to say, hey, I'm going to make this come hell or high water. I'm going to make this appointment. I'm going to have my butt in chair and I'm going to sit down and write and I'm going to get done what I had purpose to get done. And we encourage you to have a set goal for that time. So whether it's I'm going to write 750 words like you're doing morning pages. 750 words, by the way, is usually about three pages, right. 250 words per page or whether I'm going to write a blog or whatever it is you want to identify that goal before you write. That's part of writing with intention. And then here's a big secret. You ready for this? Cut the goal in half. Yeah. Make it attainable. Make sure that you can get it. [00:06:18].720] - Chris Because studies show that if you can attain your goal, you are more likely to actually go over the original goal because of the success that you feel. It's kind of like you're kind of gaming with yourself. Right? You're making a game, but by making that happen, you can really do well. [00:06:36].850] - Gena I have started doing this. I was reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. Such a great book. I recommend it so strongly. In fact, we're having our kids read it. We just really found it just great. But one of the things that he talked about is making a goal. When you're trying to set up a habit, make it simple. He talks about making it simple, which is what Chris is talking about when he was saying, cut it in half. You want to make it simple. So for me, I have started writing first thing in the morning. I've done this at different times. And I always love it because at the end of my writing time, right at the beginning of my day, I feel so successful. I feel like I have achieved something and it is meaningful for me as a writer. And so I started setting this up where I would sit down to write and I would say, okay, I'm just going to sit down for 30 minutes. I'm just going to sit down for 30 minutes. This is not going to be some long, two or three hour session. I'm just going to do 30 minutes. [00:07:40].700] - Gena And if I can do 30 minutes, then over a week, that's two and a half hours. If I go five days or 3 hours, if I go six. So I'm going to be making movement on my projects that are meaningful for me. Now, this is not when I'm talking about my projects. I'm not talking about the ones I'm necessarily doing for clients. These are projects that are my passion, projects that I'm wanting to accomplish, the things that are in me that I want to get out. And what's amazing to me is that I have yet to sit down and just write for 30 minutes. My goal is 30 minutes, but I will often usually go an hour to an hour and a half before I get up. And even then it's kind of like, shoot, I have to stop. And so then at the end of the week, I'm really seeing momentum because I've had several of these longer sessions. But I'm not beating myself up because, well, I only did an hour and I meant to do two or three no, I'm saying I meant to do it 30 minutes. And I did it an hour. [00:08:47].100] - Gena I did it an hour and a half. And so I'm walking away feeling really successful and really just like, oh, great, I've had a great day and it's 930 in the morning. [00:08:59].590] - Chris The last episode, we talked about the Pomodoro technique and how you can use that. And we recommend you do that, too, because that helps you say, okay, I'm going to really focus for this 20 minutes or for this half an hour for this 45 minutes, and make sure that you stay focused the entire time. Again, it's all about writing with intention. Well. [00:09:20].380] - Gena And I also think that there's one thing that you can do because you might be saying, well, I have no idea what I want. I know I want to write, but my goal seems too big. Well, that's where you start making yourself some notes. You can make it in your phone. You can make it on if you've got a planner or a notebook or whatever, start writing down those or like I said, record it on your phone with a voice recording, something like that. But when you start making those little notes for yourself, your brain will start working on what it is that you want to do. So if you're wanting to sit down and you're going to say, well, I need to write a blog for my website. I want to do a blog. And I know this is my topic that I normally talk about. So then as you're going through your day, this is kind of part of the prewriting stage. [00:10:11].580] - Chris That's what we call a prewriting writing that's happening in your subconscious. [00:10:16].150] - Gena And you start making those notes, and then you start looking at the notes that you're making. You're making your bullet list of things that you could talk about. And before you know it, something kind of stands out to you. And then you start making notes under there. You remember a story, you remember an anecdote, you remember, oh, well, I want to talk about this, and I really need to make sure that I cover this and this. You know what? As your prewriting, your subconscious is working. You keep track of those notes. By the time you sit down, you're going to have a pretty good outline at least started. And then from there you can write and start filling it in. [00:10:55].380] - Chris Yeah. So we encourage you. Here's your challenge for today. Okay. When you finish listening to this podcast, take a moment. Stop and write down your goal for your next writing session and find the time to make that writing session happen. Go on your calendar, schedule it. If it's the next hour, that's fine. Schedule it for right now. Schedule it on your calendar. Put down your goal and get your subconscious working on it so that you can really have an intentional time that you're writing. You'll have so much success when you do that. And then if you're writing alone, and you're like, man, it's so hard to constantly get together and get it together, right? Yes. [00:11:37].950] - Gena You feel like you're constantly breaking that appointment with yourself. If you find that's happening, then we. [00:11:43].230] - Chris Recommend you join us for what we call Writing Moments. What we do is we have found that it's easier to write with other people on our individual projects, but it's kind of like having a study group, right? You get together and you're all studying your own thing. In this case, you're all writing your own material, but by being there together in the same space, you're keeping each other accountable. You've got an appointment that's on your calendar. And we found that we have tremendous success, and those who join us have tremendous success. One of the people that we recently wrote with said, this is just revolutionary for my writing time because I'm sitting down, I'm getting together with other people, and I'm just getting done. What I need to get done. They're being intentional. [00:12:27].180] - Gena They know when they're going to come. [00:12:28].890] - Chris Yeah. [00:12:29].530] - Gena Being asked. Right. When they get there, what are you going to be working on? And then they're giving themselves that space, 45 minutes of writing time to work just on that project. It's amazing what you can get done in that time. [00:12:43].280] - Chris That's what we do in these Writing Moments. We get together for 1 hour. The first 15 minutes we have a writing training by myself or by Gena or by Rene Gutteridge, our fiction and screenwriting screenwriting extraordinaire. And one of us will have a mini training there for about 15 minutes. And then we just spend 45 minutes together writing. Right. We all put our microphones on mute. This is all done over Zoom, by the way. I don't think we said that this is all online over Zoom. So you can do it from the comfort of your home, wherever you are. And by having that time that we've pre scheduled on our calendars throughout the week, because we have a bunch of them that we go to. And some people attend a lot of them, and some people attend just a few. But whatever they attend, they're intentional about it and they're getting a lot done. So we encourage you to check that out. It's at writingmoments.com. I think you'll find it beneficial. And we would love to write with you. [00:13:32].170] - Gena Yes, we definitely would love to write with you. But regardless of whether you join us for Writing Moments or not, we hope that you will approach your writing this week with intention. With that, you will set an appointment for yourself, that you will set a goal in mind of what you want to do, that you will start working on those prewriting strategies, making those notes, and so that when you come to your time that it will be a productive time and you walk away feeling successful. If you want to, please go ahead and let us know. Email us. Let us know what your intention was, what you accomplished. We want to celebrate with you. We really do. We love to come alongside writers. We love to encourage writers. We love to hear what writers are working on just to celebrate it. We just love it. We love the process. [00:14:27].360] - Chris So if you've enjoyed this podcast, please rate the podcast. Review the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform, subscribe to it. If you're watching us on YouTube. If you're one of our first YouTube viewers of this podcast, please go ahead and subscribe. Click that bell and then share it. Share it with some friends. 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