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The Power of Body Doubling

Writing can be lonely when trying to get yourself started. Years ago I went to a small writer’s panel at our neighborhood library and one of the authors said the first and most important thing is to "get your butt in your chair and write." Writing itself doesn’t feel lonely because I’m creating characters and building a story. For me, getting myself to sit down and write is one of the most challenging parts of writing other than editing. (I’ll talk about that another time.) Writing has been a dream of mine since I was a small child and my mom would let me record my stories on a tape recorder before I could write myself. But, thinking and dreaming about it, is all I did for decades. It wasn’t until a few years ago when Adriana asked if I would do a writing contest with her that I started making some steps toward my dream. Having a writing partner like Adriana is what I needed to get started.

Body doubling is a term I had heard before but didn't know what it meant until I attended an ADHD skills group last fall. It’s when two people are in the same room doing different or possibly the same type of tasks. Since we live 1,000 miles from each other, Adriana and I do virtual body doubling where we either set a time to write or text each other when we are trying to motivate ourselves to write. Then we pair it with a pomodoro and decide on a time, usually 20 minutes. Sometimes we write past the time and check back in with each other. Last year during NaNoWriMo, there were times when I would let her know that I was writing and even if she wasn't it still gave me the incentive to write because I had accountability.

Body doubling and pomodoros aren't just helpful with writing. Adriana visited us last month and got my daughter to clean her room and me to fold clothes using body doubling. When I try, it doesn't work, but I'm super grateful that Adriana successfully got her to clean her room and me to fold clothes, both amazing feats. Body doubling and pomodoros are two of my most effective writing strategies and help in other parts of my life. Have you tried pomodoros? Body doubling? What gets you writing?

(Adriana asked for specific instructions so here goes)

-Find someone to work or write at the same time as you either in person or virtually. (You don't have to be doing the same task, maybe a friend wants to clean her kitchen for 20 minutes while you write)

-Set a time to start and amount of time to work on the task with a timer (pomodoro).

-Check-in after the amount of time. (Sometimes I continue writing after the set time)

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