Monday, February 17, 2014

Writing Tip: Going MAD

After I wrote the title, I thought that readers could interpret it in many ways. As a writer, there have been many times I thought I would go mad before I would finish a writing project. Maybe you have thought the same thing, or are going through it right now.

But, in this sense, "Going MAD" means something entirely different. And, hopefully something that will help you jumpstart that writing project you've been putting off because of the plethora of things that must be done first.

This method of "Going MAD" is taken from the book, Your Writing Coach by Jurgen Wolfe. It's been a great help with other tips I've used to help you with your writing.

MAD = Massive Action Day

Some days you may feel that you are making little or no progress at all on your writing projects. Using the MAD technique can help.

Going MAD gives you permission to devote yourself to taking massive action toward a writing goal in order to jump-start or restart your progress.

Jurgen Wolfe outlines the ways to prepare for and conduct a MAD:

Focus on one goal at a time. What Wolfe means is to make major progress toward one specific writing goal. If you have lots of goals that might benefit from the MAD technique, schedule them as separate events.

Put the day into your schedule well in advance. Treat this MAD as you would any other extremely important appointment. - not as something that can be forgotten or set aside if something else comes up. Wolfe has also come up with the MAHD technique. Massive Action Half Day. This is for those who feel that assigning a whole day will be too difficult.

Be sure you have all the necessary materials, tools, and supplies ready at the beginning of the day. This is not the time to start wandering around looking for whatever you need to complete your writing project. Make sure you have it before the day arrives.

Insulate yourself from interruptions. This is extremely important, especially in a social media world. Don't take any calls. Don't check your e-mail, tweets, or pins. Explain your plan to anybody who might interrupt you and put a "do not disturb" sign on your door your near your desk to remind them. For some people, avoiding interruptions might work if you went to a totally different location.

At the beginning of the day, note down everything you plan to accomplish. Then prioritize the tasks and put them in the order in which you need to do them. It's a good strategy to break your tasks by time and make sure to add breaks so you can get up and stretch. Have some healthy snacks available and drink plenty of water.

When the time you've set for yourself to quit arrives, stop. Take a few minutes to look back at the plan you set out and see how much you achieved. There were obstacles, consider how you can prevent or overcome them on your next MAD. Recognize whether you underestimated or overestimated the amount of writing you could achieve, and take that into account next time.

Reward yourself for what you've accomplished. Take some time to do something enjoyable that you haven't done for a while -- see a movie, visit the spa, listen to a new CD, or whatever works for you.

Consider whether another MAD session would be useful, and, if so, pick a date and make the appointment.

IMPORTANT: Don't overdo this MAD technique. Don't schedule more than one MAD a week, otherwise they impact will be diluted.

You should notice a new energy in general after your MAD session. You'll find that it speeds up your progress and you might notice that you're enjoying writing again.

Writing will feel less like a struggle and more like all writers like to be --"in the flow" experience.

So, when are you scheduling your first MAD?

Image credit: ferli / 123RF Stock Photo

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