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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Writers Arm Yourselves with Resistance Fighting Tools: Guest Post by Dave Chesson


 

I’m pleased to introduce author and entrepreneur Dave Chesson as this week’s guest blogger. When Dave’s not light saber dueling with little jedi or sipping tea with princesses, he tests new book marketing tactics and helps authors improve their book sales. On his blog Kindlepreneur.com, Dave explains that he spent more than $15,000 in software, training, marketing strategies, services, and tools. In this post, Dave focuses on the resistance fighting tools he uses himself and recommends for other writers.

Jedis not only draw from the Force, they use lightsabers; writers not only draw on inner strength – through meditation, altering thought patterns, and learning to embrace failure – they can also use digital tools to block distractions and increase focus and creative flow.

Give Yourself Freedom to Block the Online Onslaught

Writers need the digital equivalent of closing the door on the outside world. Many of us start a writing session with the resolution to not check email or Twitter or Amazon or a thousand other online distractions, only to end up feeling guilty about our lapses.

App designers know and apply brain science to make their temptation as enticing as possible. Instead of making things tougher than they have to be, fight apps with apps.

Freedom, available for both desktop and mobile users, allows you to schedule times when distractions are blocked from your life. You can choose to block specific websites or apps, or the entire internet. You can even configure the app to prevent you from overriding it in a moment of weakness, much like Odysseus being tied to the mast to avoid the sirens’ temptation.

When you align your internal focus on overcoming resistance with a powerful external blocking tool such as Freedom, it’s a lot easier to get into a creatively fruitful zone.

Give Yourself Meditative Headspace

Apps can also make it easier to claim the benefits of meditation that Rosanne has previously explored.

Meditation apps aren’t right for everyone. You may prefer to meditate in a different way. However, if you’re struggling to get started, a meditation app can give you an experienced teacher to guide you through the process. These apps offer a wealth of different meditation styles and can encourage you to meditate no matter where you are. You can also share support and friendship of fellow app users.

It’s worth experimenting to find which of a wide range of meditation apps fits your needs. Some, like Headspace, offer a free version so you can get familiar with principles and practices.

Give Yourself Writing Software Designed Just for Writers

Standardized writing tools, like Microsoft Word, aren’t equipped to handle the challenges and issues faced by serious writers:

  • How to easily and effectively access our research
  • How to quickly and easily arrange and rearrange scenes
  • How to focus exclusively on the text on the screen.

Specialist writing tools like Scrivener, yWriter and Ulysses support writers in ways Word just can’t. Using Scrivener significantly diminished my writing resistance. 

With Scrivener, you can have all of your notes and plans for a writing project in the same place you actually compose. You don’t have to interrupt your flow by switching software or initiating Google searches that can make an hour disappear before you can say “abracadabra.”

Scrivener’s full screen mode blocks out absolutely everything but the line of text you are writing, creating an almost meditative level of focus. Scrivener templates eliminate my blank page syndrome when I start a new project.

Don’t waste time trying to find the perfect software; sample a few tools and select what works best for you. Software won’t overcome your resistance for you, but it will minimize logistical frustrations and keep you focused on your writing.

Please Share Your Tools

If you have a particular tool other writers might benefit from, it would be wonderful to hear from you in the comments.

Dave Chesson is a teacher of advanced book marketing who runs Kindlepreneur.com. He helps authors get started with Amazon advertising by offering a free video course available at amscourse.com.

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9 Comments on “Writers Arm Yourselves with Resistance Fighting Tools: Guest Post by Dave Chesson”

  1. Renee Carter Hall September 11, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    For meditation, I’ve enjoyed using Calm (http://www.calm.com), which has both a mobile app and a regular website. They offer a lot of guided options but also timed and open-ended meditation as well.

    For ideas/writing prompts, ‘ve played around with The Brainstormer app a bit — though it hasn’t sparked any stories for me, I know it’s worked well for others:

    http://www.tapnik.com/brainstormer/

    As far as writing software, I do have Scrivener, but the learning curve has been a bit intimidating, and though I’ve picked up some good tutorials, I haven’t had time to go through them. It looks like the best thing for novels or short story collections, but right now for my short story drafts I’m just using Blank Page (https://www.blankpage.io/), which has similar capabilities for building outlines and being able to rearrange scenes easily, and then exporting the text to Word for final editing. It’s a nice simple interface that also incorporates basic stats and encourages you to hit daily goals. Right now it can be a little buggy as far as the stats sometimes, but I got in on a lifetime subscription for $25 via AppSumo and feel it’s been worth it.

    Like

    • rosannebane September 11, 2017 at 8:05 am #

      Hi Rene,
      Thanks for sharing what works for you. I’ll check out the apps you suggest; it’s good to have alternatives to mention to students and clients.

      Like

    • Dave Chesson September 11, 2017 at 11:29 am #

      For calming or thinking music, I like to listen to either “epic music” on Youtube, or Brain.fm (listening to it right now).

      I haven’t tried BlankPage.io, but with Scrivener being like $30 (using a coupon code -which they have) year round, it’s great to get started on. Granted it’s a little bit of a steep learning curve, but once you get it, BOOM – major difference in writing operations. A great course to potential look at which lays it all out is Learn Scrivener Fast. But if you’re doing short stories, then Blank Page much just be all you need. I’ll check it out sometime.

      Like

  2. Joel D Canfield September 7, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    Excellent list, with good reasons for each.

    Dave, do you have any tech recommendations for starting writing, that is, for getting myself to sit down and begin each day? I have lots of offline (as in mental) tools, but I know the value of handing off willpower to technology, so a tool could be helpful.

    Like

    • Dave Chesson September 11, 2017 at 11:23 am #

      Hi Joel, there are a couple of things I do:
      1. No coffee unless I am going to write – ha! Now, the only way I get that delectable nectar of the gods is to write. Sort of a Pavlov’s dog in a way.
      2. I get up at 4:30 am – yeah that sucks, BUT no kids around to bother me, and no one is on Facebook to distract me
      3. I schedule it in my calendar – somehow this feels like I’m obligated to make it happen.
      4. I have a Facebook feed blocker on my chrome (plugin) – I found I’d get caught in the Facebook feed and never get around to writing. You know what they say, the key to amazing writing is 15% great writing, and 85% staying off the internet 😀

      But ultimately, it’s about making writing into a habit. Even when serendipity has failed you, you write because that’s what you do. And after 40+ times of doing it, it becomes a habit, and then you’re cooking on peanut oil.

      Like

      • Joel D Canfield September 11, 2017 at 11:29 am #

        Yup. Good stuff.

        Any more specifically tech tool solutions?

        Like

  3. kperrymn September 7, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    I love the idea of using technology in such an innovative way–both to counter technological distractions and to help writers find their way to meditation, a distinctly non-technological and essential component of the writing process. Thanks for this!

    Like

    • rosannebane September 11, 2017 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks for your comment Katie.

      Like

    • Dave Chesson September 11, 2017 at 11:23 am #

      You bet – fight fire with fire 😉

      Like

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