Sunday, September 25, 2011

Before Your Writing Sabbatical

A quick suggestion for anyone looking to take a writing sabbatical. A few months before it begins, schedule a one week vacation and treat it like the first week of your actual sabbatical.

Consider it a sabbatical simulation--a dry run. Use it as a form of reconnaissance to help you figure out the most effective way to spend your days when the real thing starts.

Remember, a sabbatical is a precious thing. For many, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve your writing dreams. You must be ready to make the most of it. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable creative time navigating unexpected problems.

Set an ambitious writing schedule for your "dry run week" and see whether you stick to it. See how much you actually write, and then extrapolate from that to help you figure out reasonable writing output goals for your real sabbatical.

Also, use this week to test out other habits and practices that can maximize your effectiveness. For example, you might want to tweak your exercise schedule, your sleep schedule, your diet or your mealtimes.

Finally, find out what unexpected distractions you might face--and face them down now. Don't wait until it's too late to discover that you're the type of person who wastes time in direct proportion to the time you have to waste. Instead, conquer any time-wasting or procrastination habits before your sabbatical starts.

The research you do during your pre-sabbatical simulation could save you weeks--or months--of productivity when the real thing starts. Put yourself in a position to make the most of it!