WRITE & WRITE OFTEN: How To Stay Focused
WRITE SOMETHING EVERY DAY:
You would not believe the difference even a hundred little words can make. A hundred words will turn into a page, a page can turn into ten, then fifty and before you know it, your book is done. No matter how big or small, writing is writing and that is progress.
My goal every day is 5,000 words. It’s good incentive to keep pumping out those words. Now, not everyone can hit 5,000 words, so start off somewhere low, 1,000, 500, whatever makes you most comfortable. Once you get your rhythm going, raise that count. Before you know it, you’ll have 2,000-3,000 words. If you hit your mark, fantastic! Keep writing. If you don’t, add your leftover words to your next day word count.
GET AWAY FROM DISTRACTIONS:
Yeah, I laughed with you just now. When you have kids and dogs and a spouse and neighbors and let’s not forget Facebook, it’s impossible to get five minutes alone, never mind an hour. But when you do find time, like when the kids are at school and the house is empty, turn off the phone, the internet and put a note on the door telling people to go away (yes, I have done this). Sit down, put your nose to screen and get cracking. If that doesn’t work, get away from the house. Go to the park or a cafe.
Tell your husband/wife you will handle dinner if they can watch the kids for an hour. Get your family or a friend to take the kids out for a bit. Nothing works best than chocolate … or twenty bucks.
DON’T MAKE YOUR NOSE BLEED:
We get so caught up in getting that book done that we don’t stop to consider just how much stress we’re putting ourselves under, not just emotionally, but physically. Computer chairs are not comfortable, sitting propped up by pillows on the bed is not comfortable. Eventually, you will strain your back, hurt your eyes and give yourself a massive headache. Take frequent breaks. Give yourself five minutes. Get away from the screen and go for a walk. It doesn’t even have to be outside. Walk around your house. Clean. Whatever it takes. Let yourself relax before going back.
DON’T LET YOUR MOTIVATION DIE:
This is so easy to do. You work yourself up to finish a book, deadline is looming, fans are demanding you to hurry up, your inner voices are screaming with other ideas and you just want to get this over with so you can start on something new. You need to stop. If you let that motivation you had when you started writing die, then you’re doing your book and your readers a great injustice. You’re rushing yourself. Worse than that, you no longer have love for that book and it will show. Block out the voices, inner and outer and let yourself LOVE your book and your characters your way.
I am going to get my butt kicked for saying that, but let me explain here. Don’t edit your first draft when it’s not even finished. You will be writing FOREVER if you keep going back and tweaking. WRITE. That is all you need to do until that first draft is done. Once you hit the end … edit your little heart out.
MAKE YOUR MUSE WORK FOR YOU:
I read an article by Matthew Stibbe called Concentration: 22 ways to stay focused on writing and it really stuck with me. Make your muse work for you.
And there we go! I hope this helps.