From January 2015

Can’t Keep Up? Five Ways to Simplify Your Writing Time

Are you having trouble keeping up with your own expectations?  Or maybe feeling frustrated that you seem to spend what feels like hours at the computer with little to show for it?

If you’re juggling a “regular” J.O.B., a spouse, kids, activities, and more, your writing time is both sacred and pressured. So when you get that golden alone time with your keyboard, you want to make the most of it. But what do you do if you’re feeling the minutes slipping by and you’re staring at a blank screen, or – worse – Facebook?

Read on for five ways to simplify your writing time so that you can abolish those frustrations.

Close all your other tabs and focus. Here we go:

  1. Get off social media unless you’re promoting your business.

    You meant to just update the business page status, but as soon as you saw Suzie Loo’s cute new boxer puppy, an hour later you somehow found yourself drowning in cat memes. This one will take a conscious effort to self-monitor what you’re doing. Try training your brain to do a mental “check-in” every 15 minutes or so, and if you’re goofing around, click the “x” without judgment. (If you really don’t trust yourself, there are programs that will actually limit your online access for certain periods of time.)

  1. Get away.

    You love your spouse, your kids, your pets, and the comfy recliner in the living room. But you’ve got to spend your few precious writing moments alone in seclusion. No phones, no interruptions, no distractions, and no “What’s for dinner?”s. Make a sign with a scary picture of yourself and draw on some fangs and claws or something. Hang it up on the door when you write, and let everyone know you’re not to be disturbed upon threat of offing them in your next fiction piece.

  2. Write down specific goals and activities each week that you want to focus on.

    Are you trying to upgrade your headline-writing skills? Going for some killer query letter writing? Whatever it is you’d like to do, write it down at the beginning of each week. It’s a good idea to have a larger, long-range goal list, too, but breaking it down into smaller chunks can really help you get more accomplished.

  3. Make sure your body is ready to concentrate on writing.

    If you’re only getting five hours a sleep each night and live on a steady diet of coffee, cigarettes, and takeout, your mind won’t be in prime form when you want it to settle down on the page. Getting enough sleep and fueling your body (and mind!) with a healthy diet is a huge aspect of productivity. And if you’re not very active during the day, make sure you set aside some time for exercise, too.

  4. Enjoy yourself.

    Writing comes so much more easily when you’re enjoying it. So when you sit down and flex those fingers on the keys, remember why you’re sitting there. Let your voice out, your thoughts flow, and remember that there’s something you have to offer the world, regardless of how much time you’re able to write. The more you relax and embrace your writing time, the healthier both you and your writing will be. Have fun!

Are there any ideas you have to help others economize their writing time?
What stresses you out the most when you don’t have much time to write?

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