13 Things Happy, Successful and Contented Writers Do on the Weekends
How do you spend your Saturdays and Sundays?
Some people work through their weekends. But, Saturdays and Sundays should ideally be time for reminding yourself of the forgotten little things. They should be time to keep your work-life balance in check and spoil yourself with some ‘me-time.’ Happy and successful people understand this and make the most of their weekends.
Numerous articles have been written about what successful people do on their weekends. But, what specifically do happy, successful and contented writers do on the weekend? They do the same thing that most other successful people do every other day.
Keep in mind success and happiness is a 24/7 lifestyle choice. As Billionaire Bunker Hunt once said, “Success is simple. First, you decide what you want specifically; and second, you decide you're willing to pay the price to make it happen, and then you pay that price.”
Are you willing to pay the price?
How Successful People Spend their Weekends
Here are 13 weekend habits of happy, successful, and contented writers:
1. They wake up early.
The most successful writers do not stay in bed until 11 a.m. on Saturdays, or sleep in until 2 p.m. on Sundays. They wake up early and that’s what gives them an edge on the rest of the world.
Research has shown that our brains are sharpest two and a half to four hours after waking. Get up early on the weekends and you’ll give yourself a head start and position yourself well for true happiness and success.
2. They make time to write.
It can be difficult to write on the weekends, particularly when you technically don’t have to. But, the most successful writers do it. Take screen writer Eric Roth. He likes to wake up in the middle of the night, write for a few hours, take a nap, start again in the morning and continue in the evening. He knows he is a writer even on weekends.
Consider Stephen King and J.K Rowling also. They didn’t become millionaire writers by only writing five out of seven days of the week. They became worth so much because they made writing a priority. Try writing on the weekends, even if only for fifteen minutes.
3. They unplug from technology.
Successful writers log off and disconnect from all technology on weekends. This is not to say that they log off the whole weekend, but they spend a good stretch of time without laptops, TVs, smartphones etc. on weekends, and it makes them feel liberated. If they need to work on the weekends, they have a specific window set to finish a project or sort through their inbox, rather than periodically checking and writing back to emails all day long.
Laura Vanderkam, author of "What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend" and advocate for taking a ‘tech Sabbath’ says that a stretch of time apart from the computer, phone and work stresses creates room for other things in life. “If you don’t have a specific religious obligation of no-work time, taking Saturday night to mid-day Sunday off is a nice, ecumenical time that works for many people,” she adds.
4. They read.
Reading is the next best thing to writing. The most successful, happy and contented writers make time for relaxing with a book on the weekends. Not only does reading grow their vocabulary and expand their story arcs, but also inspires and motivates them to keep writing by helping them generate new ideas, fresh perspective and a renewed passion for what they do.
The New York Times bestselling author and New Yorker writer, Malcolm Gladwell, enjoys his Sunday mornings with a good old-fashioned newspaper and some tea and eggs (You'll never find pancakes on his brunch menu -- he says he finds them "slightly terrifying").
Read great writing over the weekend and it will help you grow as a writer; Read terrible writing and you’ll learn what works and doesn’t work. Either way, you will come out of it a winner.
5. They exercise.
Successful, happy writers know the importance of an active body for an active mind. Not only do they exercise to keep physically fit, but also because it gives them the opportunity to clear their minds. Exercise also lends itself to healthy outdoor activities like bicycling and jogging, which are especially important for writers who are glued to their desks throughout the week.
Vogue’s editor-in-chief, for example, commits to playing tennis for one hour every day –weekends included. You can be sure she is not the only big-shot who makes time for exercise.
6. They pursue other passions.
Successful, happy and contented writers are some of the most interesting people you will meet—and their hobbies and passions have a lot to do with it. Sure playing tennis and bicycling on Saturdays can be a great way to keep the mind fit, but even solo hobbies like doing crossword puzzles, knitting and painting can boost happiness and aid success by fostering creativity.
Executive coach Dale Kurow, M.S., tells of a creative director of a greeting card company who went back to school to pursue an MFA because of her love of art. Pursuing this passion turned into a love of poetry that she now enjoys writing on weekends.
7. They schedule chores.
Using weekends to catch up on chores is one of the hardest traps to avoid. After all, many writers and self employed people are busy throughout the week working and only get free time on the weekends to do household chores and run errands.
However, rather than let chores take over their whole weekend, successful writers designate time to get those essential household chores done, such as a designated period on Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon while they wait for the babysitter to come.
“Giving yourself a small window makes you more motivated to get chores done quickly so you can move on to the fun things,” says Vanderkam. Consider doing your chores during the workweek too. The chores will take less time because you have less time, leaving your weekends a bit more free.
8. They reflect on the previous week.
Reflection is a practice many of us overlook, but one that the most successful writers observe regularly. Madame Bovary writer Gustave Flaubert spent his week engaged in frantic late-night writing sessions. But on Sundays, he stopped to reflect on his work and share what he’d written with friends.
According to Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Flaubert met with his close friend Louis Bouilhet each Sunday to read his work from that week aloud. Bouilhet's suggestions and encouragement helped bolster Flaubert's confidence and calm his frazzled nerves for another week of slow, torturous composition.
Make Saturday and or Sunday your day to look back through the week’s activities and make plans for improvement. It will boost your efficiency and overall happiness and success.
9. They incubate ideas.
The weekends are also a great time to consider new ideas as you reflect and quietly prepare for the next week. Even the most basic of ideas take time to grow and refine before they makes any sense.
Successful, happy and contented writers take advantage of the quiet of the weekends to incubate new ideas and sit on plans until they are ready to put them into action the next week, or even the coming few months.
Vanderkam says successful people know that weekends are actually the secret weapon for professional success: “You need to hit Monday ready to go.” And that means you need to have your ideas well incubated and projects clearly thought out before Monday.
10. They meditate.
This once-best-kept secret of the yogis is now common knowledge. Some of the most successful, happy and contented writers attribute their success to daily meditation and mindfulness—weekends included.
Around the time Joan Didion’s memoir Blue Nights was published in 2011, the celebrated writer had a Sunday ritual of walking slowly down Lexington Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, stopping for her daily coffee at a café in the East 70s. Lucy McKeon, a young writer and photographer, would accompany her on these weekly walks, which she described as “slow, meditative, purposeful.”
The benefits of mindfulness-based meditation include reduced stress, enhanced creativity, improved productivity and increased general well-being. It’s all about being in the present moment and staying aware and in sync with yourself and your surroundings—a great way toward a mental detox.
11. They socialize.
You might think a writer’s social life is pretty much non-existent, but successful, happy and contented writers have an active social life, including Flaubert who made time for his friends on the weekends.
Successful, happy writers understand having some sort of social life brings real benefits for your mental and emotional well-being. Without outside stimulation, writing in solitude can leave you feeling trapped and isolated.
Get your social game on by interacting with people and joining conversations going on around you at least on the weekends. Human beings are social creatures and studies show socializing ranks right up there for boosting people’s levels of happiness.
12. They volunteer/give back.
Tom Corley studied the lives of the rich for five years before writing his book “Wealthy Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.” He found that 73% of wealthy people volunteer for five or more hours each month. What better time to give your time, energy and even money for a worthy cause and or get involved in local and community volunteer events than the weekends?
Volunteering forces you to appreciate the blessing in your own life that you might otherwise take for granted. Gratitude begins to shine through when you give back. It’s also an extremely rewarding way to connect with humanity and make a difference in the life of another before everyone goes their separate ways for the week.
As young writer Anne Frank said many years ago, “No one has ever become poor from giving.”
13. They spend quality time with family.
Spending quality time with your family might not directly increase your profits that day, but it will give you an opportunity to connect with those you truly love and recalibrate your life's direction and meaning. Happy, successful and contented writers do it all the time.
After a long week of writing, Mark Twain, for example, made sure to save his Sundays for R&R. “On Sundays, Twain skipped work to relax with his wife and children, read, and daydream in some shady spot on the farm,” Mason Currey writes in Daily Rituals.
Play with your kids, have a good conversation with your partner, or just take an afternoon walk with your whole family. It will calm your mind, blow off some steam and re-energize you for the coming week.
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