Do you ever sit down at your desk/sofa/perch with the full intention of having an awesome writing session, only to look up at the clock, see it’s 11pm and realise you’ve written the sum total of, fuck all?
Well, me too.
But I’m trying to change that. After a catastrophic May, in which I managed approximately 3 WIP words, I decided June had to change.
I got books to write people. Wasting a month, no matter how many of those hours were spent on Bash stuff, just ain’t good enough.
But I don’t just want to write faster. I know what me writing faster looks like – a garbled shitstorm of gobbledycrap. And that ain’t helpful to anybody’s novel.
Instead, I approached this tactically. Here are 3 tactics I’ve employed to write quality words, faster.
What tactics do you use? Let me know in the comments below. While you’re at it, why not sign up to my newsletter, here.
I know. I know. But you’re a pantser. Well sorry. That shit don’t fly with me, cause guess what, so am I! Being a pantser is no excuse for disorganisation. Do you want to get more done or not?
Here’s what happens when I don’t plan my writing:
Sit at my desk. Stare for a couple of minutes, scratching various body parts, trying to figure out what I am going to write. Write nothing. Check Facebook. Respond to comments. Pin shit. Stumble Shit. Read blog posts. Reply to comments. Two hours have evaporated and I have written nothing.
Sound familiar? If you’re shifting awkwardly in your seat, then just admit it. It’s fine. We all do it. But now’s the chance to do something about it.
Plan your writing. At the end of each writing session I write down what I need to do in the next two. Why two? Because sometimes I write fast, I’m more productive than I expect and if I get to the end of my allotted plan and don’t know whats next on my list, I’ll revert to social media stalking. Writing it down physically seems important too. Bit like signing in blood. If I keep it in my head I can ignore it. If its inked I am more obliged.
What do I mean by plan? Doesn’t need to be much:
- Write chapter 4
- Edit chapter 20
- Write ironic post on productivity
You know what happens when I sit down knowing what I need to do?
I write. I get shit done. I don’t procrastinate.
TWO: CUT THE CABLE
Hate to say it, but the internet is a drug. I’m like a crack addict waiting in line for the local dealer to get my next fix.
Our computers are smart. Unless your evil, you don’t need to turn the actual wi-fi off and make everyone else in the house suffer. Flip the switch on your own computer.
Then flip your (phone/iPad/tablet…insert choice of technological device of wonderment) over so you can’t see the notifications pop up.
Know what happened when I flipped mine? I edited to completion a chapter a night for a week, plus wrote blog posts and finally when I turned the wi-fi back on, went straight to my blog comments and sat and replied to all of them too.
I had no idea how much of a time drain the internet was until I actually cut the cable. I was stuck with tinted specs, living in ga-ga land thinking I wasn’t one of ‘those’ writers. I told myself the only reason I have the internet on when I’m writing is to use the thesaurus. Im an idiot and I was very wrong. I bought a thesaurus cut the fucking cable and now I get shit done.
I will NEVER write WIP words with the internet on again. EVER.
THREE: PACKAGE IT
I’m not actually talking about wrapping your book in some nice shiny christmas paper. I’m talking about your time. This blog is a time suck. I love it. Just as I love all of you. But it isn’t actually helping me write my books.
We have a choice.
Prioritise the blog, the comments and the interaction, respond all day every day and watch as your precious WIPs disappear into the ether of WordPress management.
Package your time. Block off sections of time for each ‘thing’ that needs managing in WordPress and only, do those things in that time slot.
See, I am one of those, if I have my phone near me and I can, I will reply. But that means when I am writing chapter 7 for the 700th time, and I am replying to comments every three minutes I don’t get a lot done.
I get well over a thousand comments a month on WordPress alone. I LOVE them. I WANT to reply to each and every one. But I also love my WIP. And WordPress is only one of the sites I manage. So how do I cope?
I reverted to weekly blog notifications. I only receive posts on a Sunday. (You can change this in the WordPress ‘manage who I follow’ section). Where possible, I only read posts on a Sunday. Now that’s not strictly true, I do read stuff in the week, especially before bed. But by and large I sit with a fat cup of coffee and plough through all the lovely posts I’ve been waiting for all week. I have hundreds of posts to read every week, I can’t manage them all, but I try to visit everyone and read something from all of them. But, by and large, what doesn’t get read on a Sunday, doesn’t get read at all. It’s a hard choice I have to make.
For my sanity, I need to start the week fresh knowing I haven’t got a constant backlog of posts to catch up on. Otherwise the week starts bad, and I am always behind.
The same is true for comments. I try to either, reply last thing at night, every night… Once my WIP tasks are done. Or block it in chunks. Sit for an hour or two and reply to all my comments/pins/tweets.
So tell me, what tactics do you use? Let me know in the comments below.