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A More Successful & Happy Writing Life

Alicia Sekhri
Alicia Sekhri
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When I quit my job, I found myself with a blank calendar. 
I had absolutely no commitments and was free to do whatever I wanted. I had no more excuses to avoid creating a healthy routine and working towards my goals. And so I did.
I decided to try a bunch of new habits that I read about in books and online. Some didn’t work, but some stuck and made me a more successful writer and a happier person overall. 
No matter if you are a full-time writer or a creative side-hustler — here are 5 habits that worked for me. Some will resonate with you and some won’t, but you will benefit from trying. 
To become a better storyteller, learn something daily
Whether you write fiction or not, accumulating knowledge on a broad variety of topics will serve you. You will come up with new stories, create deeper characters, or write articles backed up with powerful evidence. 
You can always sharpen the skills you already have, but try to pick up something new. Always aim to broaden your horizons and expand — that’s how you come up with new stories to tell.
If you could learn anything, what would it be?
To see your goals clearly, practice yoga and meditation
For a while, it was like the future didn’t exist, and we lived one day at a time.
After the lockdown, when we started slipping into the “new normal,” the pressure to have goals came back. But for many people, me including, this experience put all of our beliefs into perspective.
Incorporating a daily yoga and meditation practice into my routine helped me relax and connect with my inner self. It sounds cheesy, I know, but it helped me see what I wanted more clearly than ever.
These activities force you to put away your devices and be alone with yourself. They force you to look inwards, behind what is expected of you and what you think you should want.
You start to see the truth: what you really want, what your true dreams are.
And if you follow them, they will lead you to greatness.
To be more productive, try time-blocking
I read about time-blocking for the first time in The 12 Week Year. This book teaches you how to achieve any goal in 12 weeks by creating time blocks.
A time block is exactly what it sounds like: a block of time where you work only on one thing, which allows you to focus more deeply and reach a state of flow.
Time blocking is difficult to do, especially as an employee. Unexpected things always come up to disturb your schedule and mess with your precious blocks.
I know implementing several time blocks a day can be hard or even impossible, but you don’t need more than one. Pick one goal you want to achieve: for example, writing a full-length screenplay. Stop working an hour here and there, and block two solid 3-hour time blocks per week.
It is likely that you will make much more progress working on your screenplay twice 3 hours a week than twelve times 45 minutes a week.
Treat it as a job and don’t allow yourself to give up: even if you don’t have inspiration, spend your whole 3-hour block trying to write something.
I do many different things, including screenwriting, learning the craft of music supervision, running a blog and a newsletter, and a small SaaS company. I am often overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done and in a reactive rather than a proactive mode. 
When I started blocking time to focus on each activity, things completely changed. I started only recently and can already see the amazing results. My time blocks look like this:
Block 1 (1 hour): Wellness/Spirituality — includes yoga, meditation, and reading.
Block 2 (2–3 hours): Blogging/Newsletter Growth — includes writing articles, brainstorming headline ideas, growing my newsletter.
Block 3 (2 hours): Music Supervision — includes learning about the craft.
Block 4 (3 hours): Screenwriting — includes working on my screenplay, writing, and brainstorming story ideas.
Block 5 (1h30): SaaS Time — includes growing the startup, creating social media posts and content for the blog.
Block 6 (1 hour): Life Betterment aka Chores — includes anything that needs to be done (cleaning, admin, etc.).
Obviously, I don’t do all of this in one day — each day usually contains no more than 3 blocks. You don’t have to take time-blocking to this extreme, just start with one block and see where it leads you.
Final advice: avoid distraction, put your phone away or it will ruin the whole thing.
To be more creative, exercise
This was unexpected. I have never been a fan of exercising, and honestly, it had never been a part of my life before the lockdown. 
Now, I try to exercise at least four times a week if not every day because I noticed that it tremendously improved my creativity. I feel better in general, have more ideas, and write more.
You don’t have to go to the gym. Do something fun. You’ll find plenty of free workout classes on Youtube — pick one that sounds like a hobby to you.
There is no right way to live or work, and what worked for me will not necessarily work for you — but I hope you can find some ideas here that will help you be more creative, write more, and be happier. 
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Alicia Sekhri
Alicia Sekhri @aliciasekhri

Thoughts, advice, and support for ambitious screenwriters and storytellers. 🎬

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