How To Maximize Your Writing Productivity

We’ve all been there- you need to get some writing done, and this little thing called “life” keeps getting in your way. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the time you have.

Location, location, location!

Where do you do your best writing? Be honest with yourself. It might sound intriguing to go to a local cafe´and immerse yourself in its ambiance, but can you actually focus there and write? Or do you need solitude to turn out something worthwhile? Think about the best pieces you’ve written and where you wrote them. If you write in several locations, try to identify common characteristics they share.

If you’re just starting out as a writer, experiment a little and find the place that works best for you. There will always be those writers who claim to be able to write anywhere, but for most of us, that probably isn’t the case.

Time of Day

Are you an early-bird, a night-owl, or something in between? Again, think about your best writing pieces and when they were written. I find I do my best writing either at night in my dining room in total darkness (except for the glow of my laptop screen), or in early morning, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea nearby.

Set a Time Limit

Before you sit down to write, decide how much time you can afford to spend. And stick to it. Even if you’re struggling with the words, commit to write for the duration of the time you alloted. You’ll usually find that you get more accomplished if you force yourself to stay put. If you have a significant amount of time to spend, break it into reasonable chunks and schedule short breaks. Just be careful not to let the breaks exceed the time you scheduled.

Minimize Distractions

Even if you’re the type of writer who requires total solitude, there will always be things that pop up to distract your attention. Address your own needs before you begin to write: food, drink, bathroom, etc. and do not incorporate these things into your writing time or you run the risk of running out of time before you get your first words typed.

If necessary, turn off the phone, TV, or stereo. If you write at home like I do and other family members are about, let them know you will be writing, and ask them not to disturb you unless there is an emergency. (They can also take any phone messages while you are busy). I find my husband and teenage daughter do quite well on their own, but sometimes need to be reminded that mom is not on duty 24/7.

Avoid Temptation

When you’re writing, resist the urge to check your email, instant message, or surf the net. It’s best to close any applications on your computer other than the one you are using to write. If you need the internet for research, do that first, then close your browser. It’s just too easy to tell yourself that you’re only taking a short break from your writing- that can turn into hours if you’re not careful.

Less Is More

Regardless of where you choose to work, less stuff=more focus

Clutter in your writing space not only contributes to disorganization, it can be very distracting- especially when you’re contemplating that next perfect turn of words. Try to keep only what you need within your field of view and reach.

Be Flexible

Whatever you identify as your most productive writing scenario, realize that stuff happens, and when it does, be prepared to adjust. If your favorite writing spot becomes unavailable, have a back-up ready. If you have to be somewhere else during your usual writing time, try to plan for it by scheduling another time or doubling up on your time another day. As much as we love to write, we all have a life to live outside of writing. Make your best effort to maximize your productivity and it should help you keep on track to achieve your writing goals.

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