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By Brad Dehnert

Sometimes, when we struggle to get our words onto the page, it's because of writer's block. Other times, though, it's just as simple as not finding enough time to sit at the keyboard. Here are a few suggestions that will help with that!

Make a schedule and be consistent

It's the most obvious, but also the most important. Can you find thirty minutes every day to write? Maybe before work or on your lunchbreak? Personally, I try to write for an hour or two before bed most days, once I've finished with any housework and once my mind has had a chance to decompress.

Don't worry if you feel that you can't spare more than half an hour, or that you only have the time to write 200 words. If you do that every day, they'll add up very quickly!

Experiment with different times of day

A friend of mine said that she'd been struggling to get up early at 5.30 so that she'd have time to write before work, and that she wasn't being very productive until she shifted everything back by half an hour. By giving herself just thirty minutes more of sleep, she found waking up to write a breeze. So if you've taken the first step and found a consistent time to write, but you still don't feel as productive as you could be, try shifting the time around, even by as little as half an hour.

You might even have to go so drastic as to switch from a morning writing session to the evening, or vice versa. We all know if we're morning-people or night owls, so make sure you aren't fighting the tide.

Connect it to another hobby or activity

For example, maybe sitting down to write for an hour is your reward for hitting the gym? (If you write later in the day, you might also find that some light exercise will help keep you more alert when you sit down at the keyboard, too.) If it's an activity that you already carve out time for in your schedule, add an hour on the start or end of it and use that time to write! If you haven't packed your schedule, it shouldn't have much of an impact on the rest of your day, except for the positive impact of writing more words!

Set yourself a word-count challenge

For me, I usually aim to beat the number of words I wrote in the previous session, and it helps motivate me to stay at the keyboard just a little longer when I start feeling tired or hungry or distracted. Of course, you have to get your butt in the seat to begin with, but a personal writing challenge will keep you there longer!

Other goals or challenges could be:

  • Finish the scene you're currently working on
  • A raw word count (500 or 1000 words per day)
  • To write five out of seven days

SceneOne.app automatically tracks your daily word count (and breaks this down by project), and even displays your current daily word count at the bottom of the writing screen. You can also look back on your writing stats over time to see how much you're improving.

Work in short bursts using the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a way of helping your concentration and productivity simply by working in 25-minute bursts then taking a five-minute break. You can do this with a timer on your phone, or download a dedicated app. I've done this in the past when I've found myself struggling to focus on my novels, and (similar to the previous suggestion) when you see that your timer only has five minutes left, you'll keep yourself writing just that little bit longer when you normally would have logged off for the night.

General tips

Any new habit takes times to become routine, so start of with small changes, and force yourself to stick to them for at least two weeks. After that, evaluate if you've been more productive and if you think there's anything you can do to tweak your new routine, then test it again.

Also, try looking up other self-motivation ideas for things like studying or going to the gym and see if there's any advice that you can apply to your writing.

And, finally, make sure you're having fun with your writing! Because if it's fun you'll always find the time for it!

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Posted in Learn to Write on 2020-12-04 22:51:07 -
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