Writers who are short on time need to be as efficient, effective, and productive as possible.
Writing sessions should be spent writing. That’s why they’re called “writing sessions”. But oftentimes, things feel out of place, making effective writing time during designated writing sessions difficult. It’s easy to let procrastination interfere, or to let excuses keep you from meeting your writing goals.
We need to set aside some time, whether it is five minutes or 15 minutes, before our writing sessions so that we can be prepared when we actually sit down to write.
Have you ever sat down to write, but couldn’t think of anything to write? Or have you ever sat there with no words coming out because you weren’t sure which scene you were going to write? Or maybe you wanted to write a particular scene, but some other scene wanted attention first and you fought with it?
I highly recommend setting aside some time to figure out your plans for your next writing session. That way, when you sit down to write, you can work on that plan and knock out a writing goal.
To help you have a productive writing session, here are some things you should do before you begin to write.
1. Brainstorm ideas.
If you are writing a new article or story, it’s a good idea to have a variety of ideas to choose from.
It doesn’t work, at least for me, to go down a list of ideas. I come up with ideas and then I pick and choose which idea I want to write about. I don’t write on anything I’m not “feeling”. I have to want to write about my specific topic in order to get it done. Sometimes I will change my mind halfway through and I’ll want to drop the article and write on a different one, but at that point, I usually stick to my guns (most of the time that’s just the resistance trying to keep me from finishing my articles).
When you have a whole list to choose from, you can write about the one that feels right. Also, by brainstorming before your writing session, you can easily pick the topic and write about it. You won’t be wasting time brainstorming during your writing session, that time when you should be focused on writing.
2. Review the previous day’s work.
If you are writing a novel or longer story, reviewing the work you did the day before will refresh your memory on what you were writing about and what you need to write about today. You could do this during your writing session, but then you’d be spending time not writing.
The whole idea of having a set time scheduled for your actual writing work will help ensure that you are working toward your writing goals. If you blend your brainstorming and reviewing with your writing time, you’ll soon find out that you are unable to meet your writing goals, simply because those other things are so much easier to do.
3. Be prepared to write.
Being prepared to get the writing done will help you be an effective and productive writer. When everything threatens to throw you off course, you need to do everything you can to make sure you get your writing done and your goals met.
Have your computer in good, working order before your session. If you need to start your computer to write, turn it on and have it ready before your session. If it’s slow to open your word processor, restart it prior to your writing session. Do everything you can to make sure that when you sit down to write, nothing delays or prevents your writing.
Know what you’re writing about. Have your drink and snack within reach. Close the curtains and turn off the phone. Shut down your email and other distractions.
4. Just do it.
This piece of advice (thanks, Nike!) has got to be one of the most important tips out there. It’s easy to get caught up in the details. If we are unsure of some element in our stories, it’s easy to push our writing projects aside until those details are figured out. The truth is, you could hold yourself back for years simply waiting for that information to come to you.
Don’t expect it will come out of thin air (sometimes it really will!), and don’t wait around for it.
Waiting around is one of my pet peeves. I hate doing it. I don’t get anything done when I wait around for someone or something. I enter a state of inactivity and I waste time. My schedule is super busy these days so I don’t have time to wait around idly. I have to be doing something, working toward meeting a goal so I can be productive. It’s important that I manage my time properly.
How you manage your time will determine your success as a writer. If you are serious about writing, you will want to do whatever you can to use your time wisely.
Originally published at JodyCalkins.com
As a freelance writer and editor, Jody Calkins helps writers and business professionals convey their messages through the written word. Her specialty is editing novels in young adult, mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy. She also writes and edits content for a variety of business materials. Jody holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics, the study of ancient Roman and Greek literature, language, history, architecture, and philosophy, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is an Institute of Children’s Literature graduate. She is the author of the book, How to Write an eBook That Shines: A Practical Guide to Enhancing Your eBook Through Clarity, Quality, and Creativity. Jody Calkins currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three pets. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo by Jeffrey Pott
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