Writers today are distracted more than ever. Constant bings, dings and rings pull us out of the ‘zone’ all day long. If your smart phone interrupts you and keeps you from getting more work done, perhaps its time to turn off all those settings.
But if that isn’t the only problem, here are a handful of concrete ways to elevate your word count.
1. First things first. Instead of automatically reading your 40 emails first thing in the morning, make a new habit of writing first. Set your timer for 30 minutes and spend time on your own project instead of reacting or replying to emails that consume writing time. This will satisfy your goal of getting some writing in without cutting into anything important.
2. Schedule appointments. If procrastinationor distraction is your middle name, look at your calendar for the week and mark off sections for writing only. Make the appointments for yourself and don’t make dental and doctor appointments for pets or children during these times.
During the summer, I have two weekly timeswhen I don’t do anything but write. On Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings I go to the library or St. Louis Bread Co and write. Iam amazed at how much I can concentrate and get done when I’m not listening for the phone, the kids or the dryer. It is a focused writing session for those two or three hours and I’m happy and the kids are happy. It’s a win-win.
3. Carry a notebook or Post-its ®. Don’t lose those ideas that you swear you’ll remember the next day or later when you get to your computer. I have lost countless ideas and descriptions that I thought for sure I would remember the next time I sat down to write. I didn’t. Always have something to write on and something to write with. You never know when that plot devise might work in your latest project. Your mind is always subconsciously thinking about your projects and you never know when the solution is going to pop up.
4. The 20-20 rule. Set your timer for twenty minutes and work on your article or chapter. When you’re done, set it again for twenty minutes and write a blog post. Reset the timer for another twenty and work on another project or another chapter of your book. These short bursts get your mind going and speeds up productivity.
5. Top priority. I try to ask myself each morning, “What is the one thing (or two) I will regret not getting done today?” That question keeps my mind focused on these priorities and most days I can cross them off my list. These tasks might be finishing a scene, researching needed info, or writing out character sketches to keep me moving forward.
Hopefully at least one of these ideas will help you up your word count. What are your suggestions for getting more words written? Do you have to give yourself goals or work in short bursts to be productive? Share your tips in the comments. We’d love to hear them!
Michelle, Increasing my writing, one word at a time!