If you want a career writing, then you need to be productive. Not just productive, but prolific. Here are three quick tips to help you be a more productive writer.
Do you ever sit down at your desk/sofa/perch of perpetual word-vomiting midnight visiting coffee guzzling glory with the full intention of having an awesome writing session, only to look up at the clock, see it’s 11 pm and realize you’ve written the sum total of, fuck all?
Yeh, me too. I need to be a more productive writer.
But I’m trying to change that. After a catastrophic month in which I managed approximately three WIP words, I’ve decided next month has to change.
I gots me some books to write, people. Wasting a month, no matter how many of those hours were spent on important things, just ain’t good enough.
But I don’t want to just write faster. Me writing faster looks like a garbled shitstorm of gobbledycrap. And that’s less helpful than a delete button on steroids.
Instead, I’m approaching this tactically and I thought I’d share the tricks I’m implementing with you.
I know. I know. You’re a Pantser. No excuse, so am I! Being a Pantser is no excuse for disorganization. Do you want to get more done or not?
Here’s what happens when I don’t plan my writing:
Sit at my desk. Stare for a couple of minutes, scratch various body parts. Try to figure out what I am going to write. Write nothing. Check Facebook. Respond to comments. Pin shit. Stumble Shit. Read blog posts. Reply to comments…
Two hours evaporate and guess what… I’ve written nothing.
Sound familiar? If you’re shifting awkwardly in your seat, then just admit it. It’s fine. We all do it. But now’s the chance to do something about it.
Plan your writing. At the end of each writing session, I write down what I need to do in the next two. Why two? Because sometimes I write fast, I’m more productive than I expect and if I get to the end of my allotted plan and don’t know what’s next on my list, I’ll revert to social media stalking.
Writing it down physically feels important too. A bit like signing in blood. If I keep it in my head I can ignore it. If its inked I’m more obliged.
What do I mean by plan? Doesn’t need to be much:
- Write chapter 4
- Edit chapter 20
- Write the scene with the booger and snowman
- Write an ironic post on productivity
And do you know what happens when I sit down knowing what I need to do?
I get shit done.
I don’t procrastinate.
TWO: CUT THE CABLE
Hate to say it, but the internet is a drug. I’m like a crack addict waiting in line for the local dealer to get my next fix. I’m Gollum with his shiny golden pretty. I’m… okay you get the point.
Our computers are smart. Unless your evil, you don’t need to turn the actual wi-fi off and make everyone else in the house suffer. Flip the switch on your own computer.
Then flip your (phone/iPad/tablet…insert choice of technological device of wonderment) over so you can’t see the notifications pop up. This one is key, there’s plenty of bonafide lab-coat experiments that prove how detrimental notifications are to a person’s anxiety level. If we get a notification we HAVE to look at it.
Know what happened when I flipped mine? I edited a chapter a night for a week, plus I wrote blog posts and finally when I turned the wi-fi back on, went straight to my blog comments and sat and replied to all of them too.
I had no idea how much of a time drain the internet was until I actually cut the cable. I was stuck with tinted specs, living in ga-ga land thinking I wasn’t one of ‘those’ writers. I told myself the only reason I had the internet on when I was writing was to use the thesaurus.
I’m an idiot, and I was very wrong. I bought a thesaurus cut the proverbial cable and now I get words done.
I will NEVER write WIP words with the internet on again. EVER.
TWO POINT ONE: CHEAT
I love a shortcut and since I wrote this post, there have been many, many wonderful pieces of software created to help you sucker-punch the parts of the internet that hurt you most.
FREEDOM software does what it says on the tin. It gives you freedom from social media and any other distractions you choose on the internet.
You can block particular websites (of your choice) for a set amount of time. Leaving you free to research character names or settings without slipping into Facebook stalking.
Freedom has some other cool tools, like allowing you to set times for your sessions, as well as reoccurring times – let’s say you always write 5 am to 6 am. You can tell Freedom that, and you won’t have to waste valuable self-control trying not to check Facebook first thing in the morning.
What are you even waiting for?
Go get freedom.
THREE: PACKAGE IT
I’m not actually talking about wrapping your book in some nice shiny Christmas paper. I’m talking about your time. This blog is a time suck. I love it. Just as I love to exercise and reading and all manner of other things. But none of them are helping me to write my books.
We have a choice.
Prioritize the blog, the comments and the interaction, respond all day every day and watch as your precious WIPs disappear into the ether of WordPress management.
Package your time. Block off sections of time for each ‘thing’ that needs managing, put them in your calendar and only do those things in that time slot.
I get well over a thousand comments a month on WordPress alone. I LOVE them. I WANT to reply to each and every one. But I also love my WIP.
I’ve reverted to weekly blog notifications. I only receive posts on a Sunday. (You can change this in the WordPress ‘manage who I follow’ section). Where possible, I only read posts on a Sunday. Now that’s not strictly true, I do read stuff in the week, especially before bed. But by and large, I sit with a fat cup of coffee and plow through all the lovely posts I’ve been waiting for all week. I have hundreds of posts to read which is why what doesn’t get read on a Sunday, doesn’t get read at all. It’s a hard choice but I love my WIP more than I love anything else.
Plus, for my sanity, I need to start the week fresh knowing I haven’t got a constant backlog of posts to catch up on. Otherwise, the week starts bad, and I’m always behind.
If you want a career writing, then you need to be productive. Not just productive, but prolific. Here are three quick tips to help you be a more productive writer. #amwriting #indieauthor #IARTG #ASMRG #writingcommunity Click To Tweet
So tell me, what tactics do you use? Tell me how you’ve become a more productive writer in the comments below.
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