Thursday, June 27, 2013

Enhancing Your BIC Time by Susan Stilwell

Susan Stilwell
New writers face many challenges, not the least of which is discipline. Seasoned writers testify to the importance of “BIC” time, or “butt in chair” but it’s one of the hardest things for new writers to develop. These tips can help you not only be more disciplined, but also be more proficient.

Schedule Time To Write
There’s no substitute for blocking off time to write. Many writing instructors recommend you to write every single day. Others suggest taking periodic breaks. Decide what works best for you and then schedule your writing time.

You may have days where you’re super-inspired and fully-engaged in “writer mode,” where you sit down and crank out a couple thousand words in one setting. Take advantage of those because you’ll have plenty of days where you’re not. On those days, start in “editing mode.”

Edit Something Old
Instead of racking your brain to create something new, start with something old. Pull out a draft or an old piece and see if you can breathe new life into it. Read it aloud and start editing it.

Be ruthless. Delete dull or rambling passages. Pay attention to metaphors. Rework clichés. I find editing jump-starts my brain and puts me in a better frame of mind to -

Free Write
After you’ve spent time editing, write something new. Don’t worry about editing; just write. Save it, print a copy and stick it in a folder. Plan to come back to it in a couple of days as you start the process over again.

Even if you just write for one hour three days a week, think of the material you’ll acquire in a month! Another thing you’ll acquire? Discipline.

Butt In Chair. There’s no substitute.

Dora here. Scheduling time to write is key for me, along with setting a word count goal. 
What about you?  Is "BIC" easy for you or do you struggle with self-discipline?
Willing to share what works for you?

Susan Stilwell is a freelance writer, motivational speaker and Bible study leader who loves discovering God at work the ordinary, day-to-day stuff of life. Passionate about God’s Word, she’s a prolific devotional writer and a popular guest blogger. She and her husband Steve enjoy their empty nest in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia.
You can connect with Susan on Twitter at @susanrstilwell and on her website,


  1. Oh, yes, I struggle. When it's not "flowing," it's so hard to sit down and write what I know is complete garbage. I like the idea of editing something old instead of creating something new. That's a great help. Thanks, Susan!

    1. I hear ya, Angie. On days where I feel completely at a loss for words, it's tough to keep myself planted in the chair. Keep at it, though. I promise it gets easier. :-)

  2. Susan, I appreciate your suggestions, especially free writing. But the best long-term solution? Developing discipline by BIC! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Susan, great post! I've never considered your second suggestion -- but I will now. :) Thanks for sharing.

    This is my first visit to the site -- impressive. I plan to return.


  4. Susan practices what she preaches!! She is quite good at the BIC method! Thanks for sharing her great tips!!

  5. Great suggestions, Susan. I have to be reminded quite often to stay home and write!


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