Go with the Flow
I’m not talking about the words that should flow from your fingers. I’m talking about the crazy life we lead as writers. If something else takes precedent over your writing time, then let it, unless of course you’re on a deadline. But if you have the flexibility to set aside your writing to concentrate on more important things like family or that paying job, then do it without any guilt. If you’re able to focus on one task at a time instead of wishing you were writing, you just might get through with that task quicker so you can get to your writing.
Write with a Clear Head
This goes along with the first point. If when you sit down to write you’re worried about all the other things you need to do, I bet part of your writing time will be wasted. Or at least unfocused and less productive. So make a list. Yes, the “seat of the pants” writer in me hates making lists. But the “plotter” in me knows I’m more productive if I take the time to do it. So before you write, jot down all the things you have to do that day to get the clutter out of your head so you don’t waste your writing time.
One trick I use to not waste time when I’m writing is using a timeline. I set my schedule backwards from when I need to pick up the kids from school. I then factor in when I’d need to jump in the shower, and determine the time I’d need to finish my workout to get that shower. I factor in the other things I need to do that day and what’s left is the time I can write. Then when I sit down to write, I know the exact time I have and when I need to quit or be late picking up the kids. Or missing that workout. If I’m on a writing roll, I might choose to skip something on the list and make it up later, but I like seeing a timeline and when I need to be moving onto something else.
Plan Your Scene
This is something I need to get better at, but I think a lot of prolific writers work from this principle. Before they end their writing session, they plan the next scene or at least know where the story is headed so when they sit down at the computer the next day, they don’t waste any time getting into their story. Sounds simple, but why don’t I do it?
Interrupted writers don’t have a lot of time to write, so when we do find it, we shouldn’t waste it. I hope these three ideas help you on toward your own writing productivity.
What other ways have you used to help you not waste your writing time?
Gina Conroy is founder of Writer…Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. Represented by Chip MacGregor, she finds time to write fun, quirky mysteries in between carpooling and ballroom dancing . Her first mystery Cherry Blossom Capers, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012, and Digging Up Death is available now.