BICHOK To Victory! (Or Should That Be BICtory?)

Welcome to my blog. It’s not new. It hasn’t been ‘relaunched’. I just blew off some virtual cobwebs, dusted down some of the pixels, lay out a binary ‘Welcome’ mat. And I’m inviting you back.

Hello. Welcome. Come in. Relax. Read.

Over the next few months, I’ll be publishing a series of articles on how I’ve put together this blog over the previous few weeks. I’m doing this in the (vain) hope that I’ll actually be able to make something focused and useful.

The first post is this one. It’s an introduction to BICHOK, a method of writing I got from the Writing Excuses podcast.

BICHOK stands for ‘butt in chair, hands on keyboard’. You sit in your chair (or stand at your desk), for a predetermined period of time, with your hands on the keyboard. Your fingers don’t have to move, but your butt cannot! That’s it and all about it.

Make Mine Chunky

It works best if you do it in chunks. The Writing Excuses guys talk about four, five and six hour BICHOK sessions. I’m not up to that level, so I do smaller chunks. I also sub-divide that time, too. More on that next week.

I’ve set up a Google calendar to schedule this time. There are two periods during the day, every weekday, called ‘Dissertation BICHOK’ and ‘Blogging BICHOK’. From 8:30 to 11:30 each morning, and from 12:15 to 13:30 in the afternoon, I will be here, BICHOK. Even though I may not write anything, even though I may not write anything I like enough to publish, it means I can’t do anything else. People have riffed on this theme of “inspiration shows up when you’re at your desk waiting for it.” (Of course, people say “inspiration can come at any time, and you should always be ready for it.” But that’s meat for another few posts.)

I haven’t forbidden myself from getting work done outside these times. But if I stick to it, I’ll be able to take the rest of the day without feeling like I should be working. This is Woody Allen’s approach. It means I don’t have to feel guilty about training, or reading, or watching YouTube videos, or making music, or other things I used to think of as not ‘productive’.

I’ve been ‘studying’ productivity since I began my ‘online adolescence’ around 2007. I put studying in quotes because it’s only ever been on-and-off, never systematic. (Mostly this is because productivity scares me; it makes me realise how capable I actually am, and how much I can ‘get done’ when I set my mind to it.)

Time, Time Management and Turning Pro

However… In the last few weeks I’ve actually become ‘busy’ enough to warrant taking productivity and time-management seriously.

A number of events have conspired in my favour. I was accepted into TriDot‘s Outseason Training programme (I’m writing about that here); I (kind of accidentally) lined up a writing gig at Judicalis, which has a fortnightly publication schedule. (First post.) I’ve (sort of) tied myself to the mast with my Afghanistan blog. I’m strapping another arm to the mast by making this blog a monthly update, too. My publication schedule will be: Judicalis, Afghan Outsider, Judicalis, Just Joe Music. And, I’m trying to make myself a profitable writer. This has involved a mindset shift. I’ve had to ‘turn pro’.

This is the first step I took in turning pro. Give it a try some time. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. It’s a compelling proposition.

What have you done to help you turn pro?