Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard

New Year. New work ethic…er, right? If you’re like me, then you probably resolved to get more writing accomplished. In fact, my specific 2013 resolution was to spend half as much time on the internet and use those extra daily hours to nurture my muse and write!

But boy is that easier said than done. Inspiration doesn’t always want to come when WE want it to—and I ‘ve talked about writing constipationbefore. About how you can squeeze a few words out, but they’re all crap.

I’ve also talked about BICHOK before…but that was a while back on Let the Words Flow, and I thought it was time for a recap. New year, new work ethic—huzzah!

Now let’s face it: writing has something of an ebb and flow to it—this is true for everyone, I believe.

For me, the “ebb” is like the really steep incline on a roller coaster. And then the “flow” is all the free-falling, loop-dee-loop, high-speed ACTION!

Sometimes, the high-energy, high-productivity bits last longer than the crap, and I can ride a “flow” for a while before the “ebb” hits. But…sometimes the ebb dominates instead of the flow. (It’s definitely related to stress and other parts of my life. A period of nail-biting, hair-pulling stress or a week of mind-numbing melancholy can pretty much stop any writing roller coaster dead in its tracks.)

When the ebb hits, I am miserable and reluctant for at least a week, and I usually let myself wallow in laziness.

Which of course, only makes me feel guilty because I should be working, which then feeds the glum mood, which then feeds the guilt… On and on and on.  Sometimes, with enough sour gummy worms (or a looming deadline—those can be very effective), my productivity will return on its own.

But not always.  And that’s when I have to resort to BICHOK—a veritable plunger for your clogged brain.







I MAKE myself sit at the computer.  I disconnect the internet.  I set a timer for 30 minutes (or I shout out on Twitter for a #BAMFWordBattle).

And I write.  My goal is whatever the heck I can get out–hopefully at least 500, but honestly: any words are better than none.

If I feel good, I set the alarm for another 30 minutes and keep going, but usually, if it’s my first few days back, I jump from the chair and do something else before sitting again (from grabbing more coffee to taking the dogs around the block). Then after a 15 minute break, I set the timer again (or kick off round 2 of #BAMFWordBattle).

I try for at least three sessions of this per day.  If I know I can’t handle a timed session (sometimes I can’t BICHOK at a high speed), I’ll just set a daily word goal of at least 2000 words. Slowly but steadily, my story will unfold…

And then, after a good week or two, the roller coaster will be back in high gear! I’ll hit my stride and hammer out 15 pages or so a day.  Best of all, I’m back in the “flow”, back in the story, and back to feeling good.

BICHOK For Your Life

When I originally wrote this post a few years back, I had just finished a rather rough patch of blues. I had decided it was time for a Full Life Make-Over.  This was something I learned when I suffered from real depression during my undergrad years.  I had discovered that though medication helped stabilize my moods, it also shattering my creativity.

Kind of like with BICHOK, I learned to break my life into a very strict schedule. And, no matter how I felt, I made myself stick to it.  For a week, then two weeks, and then until it became routine and my contentment returned.

But inevitably, my routine spirals away. The release of Something Strange and Deadly took up so much time with self-promotion and coordinating events (not to mention traveling to said events), that I lost all semblance of a healthy routine.

So after my tough experience trying to write the perfect novella, I was faced with MASSIVE self-doubt and unhappiness with regards to my writing. So I turned to my good old friends: the routine and BICHOK.

I installed this wonderful little app called Way of Life, and I put two things in it that I wanted to make a new routine: Write new content, Move. Basically, I knew that getting outside and off my butt would be good for my brain. I also hate writing new content—it’s so scary if I’m not feeling super inspired. However, this app promotes me to just DO IT (it even prompts me at 1:00 every day to check if I’ve met my goals). As such, I have successfully walked/jogged/hiked every day for months now AND I’ve written tons of new content!

It has become routine, and the clog to my life has been cleared.

So the million dollar question becomes: does BICHOK really make a difference?

I don’t know.  Honestly, I can’t say if my strict schedule and BICHOK are what make the difference in my productivity and happiness, or if it’s something else. I can say that when I originally wrote this post two years ago, my happiness turned around and was VERY high for a VERY long time (up until the stress and natural self-doubt that comes with a debut book release). I can also say that since I started BICHOK-ing again and living according to a routing, I have been much happier.

It could be just the EFFORT—the attempt to turn my life around—is what changes my mood. Commitment can feel good.  Getting excited about a new routine is a great way to boost your happiness.

What I do know is that this method works for me.  It might not work for you. Or, you might need more, you might need less. Or, you may not even have a writing clog or life clog like I’ve had.

BUT, if you ever do, BICHOK is something you might just want to try.

You tell me: Do you do any hiccups in your life, writing or otherwise, right now?  Have you ever tried strict schedules to turn your writing or life around?  Do you have other tips to share?


16 Responses to Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard

  1. Robyn Campbell Jan 28 2013 at 11:32 am #

    *hiccup* *hiccup*

    Going through this right now. EGAD! Repeat fifty times, BICHOK, BICHOK, BICHOK. Got it! 🙂

  2. Alyssa Jan 28 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    The Pomodoro App has been really helpful for me lately. Time management is key, and having something to prompt you is a BIG help. But yes, step one is BICHOK.

    I’ve also found that the reward system helps. I’ll tell myself that once I write 2,000 words, I can have a candy bar/watch an episode of one of my favorite shows/go shopping/etc. But I HAVE to get those 2,000 words down first.

  3. Steph Jan 28 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Ack. Major hiccups in writing AND life lately. I always try to stick to schedules in such situations, figuring lots of little goals are BOUND to get me to the big goal eventually.

    I’ve been living the truth of BICHOK and this:

    “This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard, and you put one word after another, until it’s done. It’s that easy and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman

    I finally had a breakthrough this weekend, but it was weeks of trying to get there. The thing for me is, I don’t know when the “flow” will come, unless I’m there watching “the waters” while the ebb happens. Or maybe I would know, but I think I might miss it a few times that way, and in the end it would take longer.

    Plus, there is something to be said for not walking away when things are hard, that I like about sticking through the “ebb” times. I wrote 20k this weekend…I wrote 6k the weeks before. Well, probably more, but I kept scrapping stuff because it was garbage. For whatever odd reason, though, I’m incredibly proud I made 20k happen, even more so because I was there when it wasn’t happening, and I kept trying and didn’t give up.

  4. Gerri Lanier Jan 28 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    * Great post! Well, I struggle with all of that you’ve said every single day. Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid the internet before I write, as well as aim for a 1,000 minimum word count daily. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Other days, BICHOK works although it takes a long while for my brain to get in gear.

  5. Andrea Jan 28 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Love the visuals. 😀

    And thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us! Whenever I realize that something makes me happy or unhappy, I try to figure out the source, and then I try to change my life so that it no longer incorporates the source of unhappiness, and encourages things that make me happy. I have a document with a list of things that remind me to keep that change in my life until it becomes habit and who I am. A few things on the list are: ‘No drama,’ ‘Don’t make decisions when emotional or upset, you’ll end up regretting them,’ (Clearly, those are from when I was a teenager.) ‘Movement,’ the equivalent to your ‘move,’ “Keep writing! Don’t sleep! Don’t stop!” which my favorite English teacher sent me during his novella assignment, and quotes such as, “‘Every human heartbeat’, he’d said many times, ‘is a universe of possibilities.'” from the book Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and, “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” from G. B. Shaw.

    I also have one of your quotations from this blog/LTWF, “I constantly wonder if I have ANY skill, but then I just tell myself: ‘It doesn’t matter if I do. I’ll just keep on working until I get where I want to be — no matter how long it takes.’”-Susan Dennard

    All of these things have brought so much more positivity and happiness in my life, and I think it’s my equivalent of your strict schedule, the commonality being we both take them very seriously and put a lot of effort into it. And of course, we are better off for it.

  6. Alexa Y. Jan 28 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    I love BICHOK! I personally find it to be sound, practical advice – and it kept me writing during NaNo. Now, I really should start applying it this year when it comes to actually FINISHING the novel…

  7. JQ Trotter Jan 28 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Love your drawings! I definitely suffer from the ebb and flow syndrome in my writing. Sometimes I can write and write and write and write — and actually think it’s good! — and other times… not so much. Usually, it’s when something is going on in my life that makes me nerves. It zaps all the writing out of me. BICHOK sounds like a good way to get through it. Usually, I just pick up a book. If I read something that’s really good, it usually inspires me to sit down and write.

  8. Meredith Anderson Jan 28 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    I was unemployed for an entire month this year. Actually, all through NaNoWriMo I was unemployed. (Except for a random, miserable week in a horrible office job that was just horrible.) I took advantage of the time and wrote, but I KNOW I didn’t use my time as well as I could have. I’ve done NaNo 5 times now and I wrote just enough to hit 50,000 words while unemployed. I wrote 60,000 one year while working and going to school AND keeping up a social life. I was in a real funk because I’d been fired from my job, had to look for jobs every day, and was overall just stressed out over finding work and paying bills and all that fun adult stuff you have to do to you know, live. When I realized I wasn’t using my time, I took a little time to make a bunch of signs to help me focus. One of the first ones I made was “let it go” with a little balloon, reminding me that I can’t change some things. I’ve got to let some go. This was true for everything/everyone with my last job as well as editing out unnecessary scenes in my story. But the next sign I made? BICHOK. It’s the biggest sign I have by my desk. I made it out of leftover card stock from wedding invitations. And it helps. Just seeing that sign sets off that alarm in my head that says, “Hey! You! You want to be published? Then sit in that chair and get your hands on the keyboard and WRITE!” So I am definitely a fan of BICHOK. I use it daily. And I always think of you, Sooz, when that little voice in my head goes off. So thank you for keeping me from falling into a funk. 🙂


  9. Cheyenne Jan 29 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Great post! Your original post about BICHOK has really stuck with me, and this one is a fresh reminder to get myself on a schedule and stick with it. If I can stick with it for a week… as you say, hopefully this can turn into a routine rather than, “WOW! I DID IT!” just once 😉

    I’m definitely downloading that app as well. It sounds like something I could use. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Triona Dolan Jan 29 2013 at 11:37 am #

    All I can say is that this post *sings* to me in so many ways, on so many levels – you have no idea! Thanks for your honesty and clarity! I’m having trouble BICHOKing right now as I am crazy, crazy buzy at work, have a long commute as I live in the arse-end of nowhere and to top it all off I am organising a wedding, Irish style, which means BIG!! 😉 But this is all still no excuse. If I make the effort, I still have time to write for an hour most days – I just need to do it!

    Best of luck to everyone and their BICHOKing!!!! 🙂

  11. AJ Bradley Jan 29 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Thank you for this. Depression sucks. I’m glad you haven’t let it keep you down. <3

  12. Jeanna Sep 23 2014 at 2:12 am #

    Hi there! I realize this is sort of off-topic
    however I needd tto ask. Does managing a
    well-established website like yours require a large aamount
    of work? I am completely new to
    operating a blog however I do write in my
    journal everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily
    share my own experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have aany suggestions or tips
    for new aspiring blog owners.

  13. AH Nov 17 2015 at 3:11 am #

    This is an incredible post. I’m glad I ran into it as I’m working on Nanowrimo currently and I realized what you said is true. Sometimes I open a word document with no ideas in my head, but once I write a couple of sentences (sometimes they’re total rubbish) a scene pops up and I delve into that.

  14. chairs Jan 4 2022 at 12:51 am #

    I’ve been trying to avoid the internet before I write, as well as aim for a 1,000 minimum word count daily. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Other days, BICHOK works although it takes a long while for my brain to get in gear.


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