Monday, April 9, 2012

8 Ways to Improve Your Writing Time

I don’t know about you, but I always have a hard time buckling down again after a trip. There’s always just one more thing I could do that leads to another day without much progress. Knowing this about myself, I made a list of eight ways to get me moving again when I got home from my trip. I share them in the hopes they might help you out a bit, too.

Remove distractions

Pick up major bits of clutter, toss in a load of laundry, or load the dishwasher as you mentally prepare yourself to write. Mindless activities can help stir up ideas, plus you have an hour of uninterrupted writing time while you wait for the buzzer to go off.

Eat well and stay hydrated

A good mom doesn’t send her kids to school with an empty stomach (if she can help it). Mental activity uses a lot of energy. Feed your body. Feed your mind.

Make sure you’re comfortable

If your legs are falling asleep and your back is killing you it’s time to find a better writing location. Whether at a table, desk, couch, or curled up in bed, we tend to be the most productive if we aren’t focused on our discomfort.

Change up your workflow

If you only use your laptop and find yourself staring at a blank screen, try pulling out the old pen and paper. (Bonus, it keeps you from getting tangled up in the world wide web.) If you always write at the kitchen table, try finding a spot in the sun. A change in scenery could lead to a change in perspective.

Know your limits

Some people press for major word counts. Some people set aside a specific time slot. If you have a daily goal of 2,000 words but can only reach 500 before your brain shuts off, that’s ok. Maybe you need to spread out your writing time in 20 to 30 minute segments.

Don’t beat yourself up!

If you miss a writing session, don’t freak out! Evaluate what happened. If it’s the result of procrastination take a moment to discover what you’re really running from. If a friend came into town remember the world continues to move while we’re writing. Memories aren’t things to miss. Give yourself a break and get back to work tomorrow.

Never compare yourself to others

Sometimes we have to ignore posts from fellow writers about what’s going right and wrong in their writing life. If it’s distracting you from writing what you need to write, turn off your social media notifications! You aren’t them. They aren’t you. Thank goodness! Our bookshelves would be dull indeed if every book on the shelf was a Zombie-Amish Romance!

Remember why you started writing

Writing is hard. Writing is frustrating. Writing is amazing! Write because it’s something you want to do. Not because you have to do.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, Jen! They're such simple points but I needed the reminder, for both my fiction writing and my business writing.

    In fact, I think I'll print them out in marker or crayon or something fun and post them to the wall by my desk. :)