This week I’ve been taking a lot of time out. The last two nights have been lost to Minecraft – my way of switching off. My productivity has had less burst, but I still seem to be way ahead of the targets for 100k in 100 days. It feels a bit counterintertuitive to write in bursts since I feel the whole point is to encourage daily writing. However, I find daily writing on one project doesn’t work for me. I tend to do smaller pieces and research inbetween binging on words.
Writers have two enemies: procrastination and self-doubt. These hide themselves as lack of time. We don’t want to or words on the page because it might not be what we anticipated, so we find something else to occupy our time.
Compared to some writers, I am not hugely prolific. However, I do tend to have quite large word counts, so here’s how I have so far managed to spam out a large number of words with limited time (and stop procrastination).
1) Assign time to writing and stick to it.
I’ve given myself half an hour a day and sit down and write. This method doesn’t work for me since my output is so variable. I’ve tried sitting down and writing but I obviously couldn’t write with a dirty desk, or without my laptop, or without checking Facebook first. And if I check Facebook, I have to check Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…just so I don’t miss a thing, you know?
This method does work if you disconnect your internet connection and get your partner or child to hide your phone.
2) Write when you want.
This one works for me now, but only because I’ve been disciplined previously. I know I can get 1000 words in half an hour and I know that of those 1000 words, the first 700 or so will be rubbish. I know it takes about 600- 1200 words for me to hit the writing zone so if I want to have a good night, I need to sit down for a couple of hours. These things you learn by doing.
As you are not writing every day you can lose track of your story. When you’re not immersed, it becomes easier to become distracted. One method to try and reduce distraction with both this and number 1 is to spend a few minutes before you write your main piece jotting down what you’re going to write. Reading back over the previous day can lead to inner-editor’s loop, a dangerous obsession with correcting what you already have before you move on.
3) Write in free time.
This is my favourite. It sounds terrible and I know you’re already thinking “I don’t have free time.”
This method does not allow for being drawn into the zone, but once you’re used to it, your productivity will soar.
If you have a spare minute, you use it to write.
Here’s a list of “spare” minutes:
Waiting for school to kick out
Queuing at the supermarket
On the toilet
Whilst feeding babies
Whilst the children are eating
When you would normally watch trashy TV.
Lunchbreaks (just ten minutes of, don’t use your entire lunch break)
You’ll soon learn how many words you an do in small chunks of time. I used my phone learning this method and found I could do 200 words in a 15 minute chunk. Keep that up and you’ll soon find the words glow and you’ll have more control over when and how you write.
4) Do a challenge like NaNoWriMo.
I learnt my word count tricks by repeatedly doing these kinds of challenges. Before I did my first one, it had taken me about ten years to finish a 50,000 word first draft. No exaggeration. I used number 3 and wrote while I was feeding overnight, during naptime, waiting in the car at pre-school, in my lunch break at work, while waiting for dr’s appointments and any other precious moments I found I was sat doing nothing more than watching Jeremy Kyle on the TV.
You’re probably sick of seeing me write about it now, however, it’s good for productivity if you respond to having a bit of pressure. If the prospect of 50,000 words seems a little daunting (which is understandable if you haven’t written a large work before) then you could consider Camp NaNoWriMo, where you set your own target for the month. Having a set target forces you to prioritise your writing and make it a valid past time. This in turn makes you learn to put time aside to do it. There is no penalty for not winning, and if you’ve written some words as a result, then you’ve won.
5) Don’t edit.
Not even typos. Leave them raw and horrible on the page. Get the words out of your head and visual. It’s easier to carry on once you have something to work with than to face a blank page.
6) Don’t do housework.
It’ll still be there tomorrow and the kids are only going to come down in the morning and chuck their toys across the floor anyway. You’re writing a NOVEL and that’s much more important than having half of Toys r Us thrown over the carpet. If you have to clean,set a timer. Fifteen minutes, fly-lady style. That way you only get the most nagging problem tackled and don’t get trapped cleaning when you should be writing.
Good luck! I hope one of these works for you.
Written for What I’m Writing