“Sit, Stay, Write!” Begins!

by jeanieransom on September 4, 2010


Nemo and Luke in the Front Office

Welcome to “Sit, Stay, Write!,” where we share a lesson, suggestion, or tidbit gleaned from observing the writing habits of our boss, children’s author  Jeanie Ransom.

We hope that over these next few weeks together, you’ll find something you can put to use to help you be a more successful writer — however you define success.

Since this is the first session of our “Sit, Stay, Write!” class, we’d like to do a brief introduction before getting into this week’s material.

We’ve known Jeanie our whole lives, so when the opportunity presented itself to become her office assistants, we jumped at the offer.  During the first few months of our employment, we led Jeanie to what we call the front office — a lovely porch with a view of the yard and easy access to the mailbox. (A very important feature, since the mail carrier is kind enough to leave us two Milk Bones daily.)

Since we’ve become Jeanie’s office assistants, she’s become a more productive writer, although she still has a ways to go before she masters the “Stay” part of “Sit, Stay, Write!.”

If you take a moment to look at our picture located at the top of this post, Nemo Ransom is on the left, and Luke Ransom is on the right.  Nemo is a three-year-old Sheltie from Central Illinois who is curious (a good trait for a writer), and always up for a trip to Starbucks. (A change of scenery is sometimes just what you need to recharge your writing battery, or to solve that plot problem that’s had you stuck for hours.)

Luke, also from Central Illinois, is a 5-year-old Sheltie with a keen eye for detail. He has mastered the art of staying in one place for long periods of time, which you’ll soon learn is essential to being a productive writer.

Now that you know a little about us, let’s get started. So, what is this “Sit, Stay, Write!” we keep barking about? It’s really quite basic. To be a productive writer, you need to follow these three commands. Let’s break it down.

First, there’s “Sit.” To “Sit,” you must find a place to call your own where you go to write. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a desk in your home office, the kitchen table, or, in Jeanie’s case, a wicker chair with a comfortable cushion (trust us, we’ve tried it out) on the front porch.

When you sit in your designated writing place, it signals your brain that it’s time to get down to business. Think Pavlov’s dog for authors.

Next is “Stay.” This is a critical component of the “Sit, Stay, Write!” formula, so you may want to take a few notes. When you sit down to write, you need to STAY in your writing spot for the time that you have set aside to focus on your work. Even if you can only manage fifteen minutes because of the demands of your day, get in the habit of sitting in the same place each and every time you write.

Note: Research has shown that the maximum amount of time a human should sit and work on something without a break is four hours. After that, it kind of all falls apart, from what we understand. So even if you’re on a deadline, you aren’t doing yourself any favors – or getting any more done – if you stay glued to your chair for more than four hours at a stretch. Get up and move around a bit, take your dog for a walk, use the bathroom, etc. etc.

Last, but certainly not least, considering that the goal is to be a more productive writer, is “Write!” You cannot be a writer if you don’t write. This sounds quite obvious, yet there are plenty of people who talk about writing, talk about what they’re going to write, or say in a wistful tone of voice, “I wish I had time to write.”

If you want to write, then WRITE! Start today! Every day is like a fresh sheet of paper, so even if you fall off the writing wagon one day, you can climb right back on the next.

See you next Friday!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Matt September 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Love it!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: