9-5ing and Writing

Domagoj Vidovic

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” — Ray Bradbury

Developing software is a beautiful process; a form of art if you do it with your heart. Interesting riddles in front of you make your brain operate on a high level through the day, and the fulfillment after it is real. I really like my job.

But I also like writing. A lot.

In the beginning, I decided I would write only on weekends since I was unable to focus properly after 8 hours of coding. Entering the necessary flow state was a bit hard; thoughts from the day were racing through the mind.

Many of us have the same problem — it’s not easy to become a spectacular writer besides a job which takes so much time and energy. But it’s possible. Don’t let your burning desires fade away just because you don’t know how to organize your time properly. Those are just excuses.

Writing only on weekends isn’t the right path if you want to make desirable progress, so the only solution was to incorporate it into the workweek. Time management was the key.

The golden mornings

On one beautiful sunny day, I woke up, made my smoothie, and started my regular journaling routine. Planning the challenges and expressing gratefulness on a paper every day gives you such a clear perspective over your life. Life can’t just pass by you; it’s examined, lying still on the paper.

That journaling session boosted my creativity and I decided to write an article. I wasn’t sure if I would finish it up, but I felt such a strong urge to do it that I just had to start.

The words were flowing through me. I was just sitting and writing, nothing else around me existed. Writing with a clear head right after waking up gives your creativity and focus such a boost.

After 45 minutes, my second article on Medium was finished. It ended up being one of the most important articles I’ve ever written. The Startup asked me to join their publication because of it. 45 minutes of clear attention was the cost of an enormous motivation boost at the start of my career, just after 2 days on Medium.

Writing right after waking up gives you the powers of a still mind, uncomparable with those after 10 hours of being awake. Don’t look at your phone before it; it will just create a domino effect of past thoughts. Wake up, sit, and write.

That flowing writing period right after waking up will give you an enormous feeling of fulfillment, which will make you energized for the whole day. You will come to the job, see many people who are still waking up, unable to operate efficiently.

And look at you. The day hasn’t even started, and you’ve already written an article. You’re a beast. Ready to crush the day.

Removing the junk out of your mind

I remember trying to write right after coming home from work. I had a meal, sit down, and started to write. But I didn’t actually write. I wrote a couple of bad sentences, deleted them, wondered where’s my creativity gone. Tried again. No desirable results.

Our minds are beautiful but extremely complicated systems, and although it would be nice to be able to focus just on the present and nothing else, it sometimes seems impossible. After 8 hours of work, your brain is filled with stress, energy is gone — the doors to the flow state are locked.

You can force yourself to do it, but that’s not always the best approach. The quality of the work will be way worse than it could be, it will take more time, and you won’t enjoy it so much because you’ll feel like you’re forced to do something.

Because of that, it’s so important to reset your mind after work; recharge it, and get ready for the writing. Exercising and/or meditation are wonderful tools to clear your mind, get in touch with yourself, and continue to focus just on the end of the day.

After a nice workout session, sauna, cold shower, and meditation, it doesn’t matter at all what I’ve been doing before it. I could have been lying on the beach all day long, or I could have had a super stressful day at the job. It doesn’t matter. I pushed a reset button on my brain. It’s clear, ready for more.

Hello again, the flow state.

Schedule a date — with yourself

You’re meeting your friends this Wednesday, and you won’t let them down. The gathering will start at 9 pm in your favorite bar. You might be late a couple of minutes, but you’ll show up eventually. You don’t want to disappoint them.

Why wouldn’t you do the same thing with writing? Put the exact time on your calendar. Next Thursday, at 8 pm. Take a laptop/pen, and enjoy the time with that wonderful person of yourself. Jump into the river of creativity, and convert your magical thoughts to words.

Of course, it’s the most wonderful thing when you feel totally like writing, you have so much time, and you know the random session will be so productive. But those situations are just too rare, especially at the beginning. Become motivated by doing, not by waiting.

After some time, those magical random situations will become more frequent. But for now — schedule them, and make no room for excuses.

If somebody asks you to go out— tell them you can’t do it; you’re busy. You have an important date with yourself, and you respect it.

You would never disappoint your friends. Would you disappoint yourself?

You might be telling yourself something else — but your desire to write burns inside you. Focus on the flame. Let it grow. Don’t wait for the perfect situation to appear. Create it by yourself.

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