More Writing, Less Faffing
It’s much easier to say, ‘I don’t have time to write’ than to actually make the time to write.
We all have a colourful cast of excuses to call on when required but deep down I’m sure you know that if you really need/want/have to write, you will find a way.
And if you love writing anyway, you’ll probably find that once you get down to it, you won’t want to stop – or does this only happen to me?
Switching your writing mindset first and foremost will get you zooming from the starting blocks. Don’t say, ‘I don’t have time to write today’. Flip your words around and ask, ‘How can I make the time to write today?’ Planning your daily routine into hourly slots will help identify any gaps / time-wasting, and if you’re still struggling – even to find just half an hour – get up half an hour earlier. It’s the best part of the day.
When boosting your word count becomes a high priority for you (you’ve got deadlines to meet, bills to pay, projects to complete that have been draggggging on forever) give these tried and tested tactics a go.
#1 – Create a deadline for your project and break down your word count target into days/weeks.
- No deadline > no urgency > no The End.
- Work out when you want your current writing project(s) to be completed.
- Determine your final word count.
- And count the days/weeks until that date.
- Voila, you have your daily word count. Now all you need to do is write.
#2 – Break down your writing into daily tasks.
If you’re writing a book, for example, don’t just open up Word / Scrivener and start typing aimlessly. Set yourself a goal. Create a task list for the week.
- Day 1 may be about creating the framework for your chapters – including titles, bullet pointing your content etc.
- Day 2 may be all about setting up your ‘Connect with the Author’ page and creating your social media links and/or updating the lead magnets you’re going to offer as bonuses with your book.
- Day 3 may be about approaching someone to write your foreword. It’s not always about writing.
#3 – Define priorities – what really is the important stuff?
If you’re anything like I used to be when I was studying my Creative Writing & English Literature degree with the OU, I would do absolutely ANYTHING than write when I had a TMA deadline looming. I’d clean the oven (I hate cleaning the oven), I’d wash the kitchen floor (mind-numbing). Heck, some days I’d even tackle the ironing pile.
And then I’d have that stressy/sicky panic-stricken few hours before the deadline and feel like kicking myself for faffing around. These days, I recognise this procrastination and give myself a good talking to once the excuses start flooding my brain. Cleaning isn’t a priority. Cleaning won’t pay the bills. And I’d much rather write than clean anyway, so heed my warning… don’t be like I used to be. Recognise an excuse when you see one and prioritise your writing instead.
#4 – Avoid the time stealers – social media, emails, phones.
I can’t stress this one enough. I’m just as guilty as the next person for checking each and every phone ping but avoiding the distractions can have a huge impact on your word count. So switch them all off. Turn off the internet if you can’t be trusted. You can even get apps to help too.
#5 – Get up half an hour earlier.
I know… I love my bed too, and nobody likes getting up earlier, especially when it’s grey, gloomy and chilly. But honestly, this is one of the best tips I can offer you, if you’re determined to finish your writing projects.
#6 – Set a timer and do nothing else BUT WRITE.
Once you’ve switched off your distractions etc, set a timer and watch those fingers of yours fly over the keyboard. Get your glass of water ready or your builder’s brew, and a few custard creams, if you can’t survive without them until your hour is up and write, write, write until the alarm goes off. What are the chances you’ll want to reset your alarm when you’re finished?
#7 – Try freewriting
Have you ever tried freewriting? It’s a great way to empty your head of the raw stuff and make way for the juicy bits. All you need to do is set a timer (there’s a theme going on here, isn’t there?) and write. You can write about anything. Don’t pay attention to your paragraphing, spelling or punctuation, just write. It’s meant to be raw because it’s a pre-writing technique, rather like a singer might do some warm-up exercises, and no one will see it anyway.
Wondering what to write about? Look out of the window, what can you see? Describe the room you’re sat in. Write about you’re most looking forward to today. Set your time for 10-15 minutes and let the magic flow!
#8 – Set your writing goals for tomorrow at the end of every day.
Good writing habits are so important and setting your writing goals for tomorrow at the end of each day will keep you focused and motivated. As mentioned previously, try to set yourself deadlines/word count targets/daily tasks and write them down on a post-it so you know precisely what you’ll be doing the next day. It keeps your writing mojo happy too.
#9 – Write first, edit second
Never edit as you write, particularly when you’re trying to write a book. Editing will hamper your progress. You will get so hung up on the correct punctuation, swapping your adjectives, and altering the structure that you’ll struggle to get to chapter two. So be conscious of unleashing the ideas without worrying about your grammar, punctuation, tone, style etc. That’s why we call them first drafts.
#10 – Write when you’re at your most alert.
Whether you’re a night owl or you’re up before the larks, make sure you write when you’re at your most alert. Trying to write when you’re tired, or when the house is noisy, or when your concentration is zapped won’t bring you the best results. Write when your brain is fresh and you’ll be amazed at just how quickly that word count escalates.
I hope that’s helped you to see that it really is possible to boost your word count every day. But if you’re looking for support to create even more content and stock up your blog library or submit guest articles to online magazines, or even write your non-fiction book, there are lots of ways I can help you get there. Take a look for yourself.
As always, feel free to leave a comment about any aspect of this blog, and let me know if any tips have worked for you.