I saw something pretty crazy on television the other day (and no, it wasn’t a reality show).
It was a toothbrush that plays music while you brush your teeth. Designed with tweens and teens in mind, this amazing tool is supposed to have your kids up and dancing while keeping their pearly whites clean and healthy. Forget the fact that dental hygiene is just a part of what you have to do every day. Throw away the idea that having no cavities or gum disease is a reward all its own. No! Now boogieing while brushing is apparently the only way to get teens to brush! What’s next, floss that sings while sliding between your teeth? Seriously, when we saw that commercial, my family and I exchanged glances– two teens included—like “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
So what does a be-bopping toothbrush have to do with writing? Well, like brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day and using mouthwash is the only way to keep your mouth healthy, BIC time (butt in chair for those of you unfamiliar with the term) is something you must do to keep your writing moving forward. There is no magic bullet when it comes to producing quality content that readers will love. You have to sit down, look at that empty screen and start typing. Something, anything, until the words begin to flow and you realize an entire hour has passed (or two even), and you hardly even noticed. BIC time is hacking out that rough draft, making those revisions, taking care of line edits and then doing the whole thing over again the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat. And just like brushing your teeth does not include looking in the mirror, putting the toothpaste on the brush, and getting a cup ready for rinsing, BIC time does not include answering emails, reading the latest publishing news, tweeting, posting or working on a writing course. BIC time is writing, plain and simple. Without those nervous moments of waiting for the flow of words to do just that- flow- your muse will never have a chance to speak to you in that magical way she does when all is quiet and it’s just you and a blank screen.
Not everything in life is meant to be 24/7 fun. BIC time in writing is a lot like brushing your teeth. It’s just something you have to do. Unless of course you want your teeth to fall out or your characters to never come alive. Does it get easier? Sure! Just like brushing your teeth has its own routine, the more BIC time you have the easier it is to get in the “zone.” So turn off the tunes and just brush your teeth. You may find yourself singing a song of your very own!
Sensibility- Writing can be a magical experience if you give yourself quiet moments to hear what your muse is trying to say.
Sense- Look at your schedule and set aside BIC time. For beginners, set a goal of at least three one-hour writing sessions each week.
How much BIC time to you set aside each week? What do you do to help yourself get in the “zone”?