On Focus - Write all the words!
Publishing is a long, long, long, process. I wish it was simple as waking up in the morning with a bright and shiny new idea bouncing around in my head. Pounding away at the keyboard until it was all out on "paper" and then hitting publish.
I suppose one could do that, but many of us are perfectionists and want to put the best versions of our books out there for readers.
There's so much more to the process than most would think from the outside. There's the multiple rounds of edits, proofing, formatting, etc. For self published authors, and let's face it, even traditionally published authors, there's also connecting with fans, promoting, setting up ads, beta readers, cover design, and so on and so forth.
So, who doesn't dream of being as productive as possible? I mean we all have deadlines, whether they are contractual or self imposed. And I don't know about you, but I hate missing deadlines.
A problem that I have struggled with over and over was lack of focus. Either I never get around to sitting down, or I sit down and do everything under the sun except write. It's taken me a while and a lot of trial and error to find something that works.
It's my hope that something in this blog post helps you out. If not, don't give up. Keep searching for the thing you need. Take stock of what's worked for you in the past and what hasn't. Maybe you'll end up creating a whole new way of focusing that could help many others like you.
So here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me be more productive with my time. Perhaps you'll find one that helps you.
Create a ritual.
No, nothing crazy, no sacrificing books or pens to the writing gods. But set a routine that is the same every time you sit down to write.
Drink the same drink, tea, coffee, whatever your taste buds want. Listen to the same music, sit in the same spot. You get the point. Just do the same thing every time you mean to write.
No it won't become habit the first time, or the second, or the third. But give it two weeks, a month. Test it out. But keep at it, and whatever you do - don't alter it. At least not any time soon. if it works for you, then keep at it. If you want to alter it, do so slowly over time. Nothing big, or you will lose that routine.
Create a schedule.
This has always been something that was hard. I'd go through dozens of different scheduled and stick to them for an hour. But once I wrote it down, everything changed. My productivity went through the roof.
It was still hard to stick to at first, but it helped endlessly and it allowed me to add in much needed self care without guilt that I wasn't sitting at the keyboard typing like mad.
Don't panic! Not like... running or anything.
Timed writing sprints.
For me doing 20 minute sprints with 10 minute breaks or 25 minute sprints with 5 minute breaks have worked the best. It's enough time to get words on the page, but not so much that I feel like it's never ending. It makes the hard days easier. And on the easy days, it reminds me to breathe and take a break.
Try them out. See which works for you.
Create a play list. Either one that you listen to for every book you write or a new one for every, series, or for every book to get you in the mood for that story.
I do all of the above. Depending on my need for new music. I have an overall playlist just to write to, but I'll make a playlist for every book. Those in the same series are also combined. I tend to pick a song that fits the chapter or scene that I'm writing and have it on repeat until I'm finished with it. Then I'll move on to the next song that fits the next scene or chapter.
That's it. Those are the things that have worked for me. I'd love to know what works for you, so if you feel like sharing leave a comment below!