Driven to Distraction: Staying on Writing Task

Many writers complain about having no time to write, what with submitting, marketing, blogging, conferences, tweeting, Facebooking and the like. How can anyone possibly make progress on the work-in if she’s required to get her name out there 24/7?
Writing Tip for Today: Miss Crankypants would say we all have the same number of hours in a day, but I’m a bit more sympathetic to the various tugs on a writer’s time. Here are some things I do to become a more productive writer:

  • Schedule Tasks. Take your writing time per week and divide it into 5 segments. At least 3 of those segments should be writing time. Pure, uninterrupted (if possible) and with your editor function turned OFF. Segment 4 might be for editing/critiquing. Segment 5 (I like to use Friday) is reserved for all the marketing stuff, from submitting to tracking submissions. Take a day when you’re doodling on Facebook to write some blog posts, saving them to post at times you assign. Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your blog so you don’t waste time reposting.
  • Urgency List. I use a list with the most pressing writing tasks at the top. You might set your priorities according to contest or submissions deadlines or even self-imposed deadlines (I will have 10 chapters by this date).
  • A Little Reading. I read something I really like before I dive into my work-in-progress. Reading awesome stuff inspires me to my best writing. Don’t worry if you suddenly begin to write like Ann Lamott or Steinbeck–you are imitating greatness and you can edit it later. Alternately, reread the last few paragraphs from your previous writing session. Try ending your sessions in the middle of a scene so you aren’t facing a blank page next time you write.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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