It’s easy to get bogged down and distracted when you write, so today I want to share five easy tips for how to write more productively.
1. Set time limits
When you sit down to write, sometimes you can get overwhelmed thinking of how much you have to do. If you set clearly defined stopping points, it is easier to be productive because you don’t have time to dwell on what you have to need to get done. Choose a time to finish, and no matter what, stick to it. This will make you cut out the frivolous actions that you use to waste time. If a self-imposed limit doesn’t seem to work for you, try writing when you already have plans. When I know I can move my limit back, I sometimes get distracted. If I sit down to write an hour or two before I have to be somewhere, though, I am almost always more productive, because I know that’s the only time I get to write.
2. Know what you’re writing for the day
Even if you’re a pantser, you should know what scenes you want to write for the day. Doing this will help you get focused and make sure you don’t spend a lot of time jumping around and trying to figure out the flow of your writing. I try to have an idea of which scenes I want to write when I finish writing the day before. This lets me process those scenes overnight and come to writing with a clearer idea of what needs to happen.
3. Change your setting
I don’t mean to change the setting of the novel, but rather your writing atmosphere. Sometimes if I feel like I’m being unproductive, I will try sitting somewhere else. I will move from my desk to a comfortable chair to the bed and back again. This keeps me from getting antsy in one place, and just sitting somewhere different, even in the same room, can help you feel more creative.
4. Take notes as you write
It’s easy to start thinking about other scenes or about something you need to research when you should be writing. Rather than breaking the flow, pause just long enough to jot down a note so you don’t forget, and keep writing until you reach your time limit. After that, you’re free to do any research you want. I keep sticky notes on my desk for such things. I’m always afraid that I’ll forget something I needed to work on, so knowing that I have my list and won’t forget what I need to do helps me focus.
5. Turn off the internet
When you start thinking about things you need to research or wondering if any friends have commented on your Facebook, it’s almost instinctual to go ahead and open your browser. Because it’s habit, all it takes is just a second to realize what you’re doing and get back on track. Next time, manually go into your internet settings and disable it before you start writing. Usually by the time I’ve opened the browser, remembered that my computer is offline, and taken the time to reconnect, I’ve realized what I’m doing and gone back to writing. My rule is that once my writing program is open, I try not to open any other windows until I reach my word count or time limit for the day.
Next time you get stuck writing, try a few of these tips in order to get more writing done.
Do you have any other tips for productive writing? Leave a comment.