If you write as much as I do then you probably hit a snag now and again. This gnarled, moss-covered branch that catches on the canoe of your creativity can be broken but one needs to have the right tools to cut it loose.
- Focus on the Task at Hand – Currently I’m slogging through the final book in a series even though I have about three other stand-alone books I want to write. The battle to keep going with a series and keep interested in it is a real one. Some days I sit down to write and just run into a brick wall. I have set several deadlines and then failed to meet any of them, and it is beginning to get troublesome. However, I’ve decided to spend each day finishing one chapter (as I have 10 chapters left on the outline) and will endeavor to finish those chapters in as many days. Once it’s done, I can edit, polish it, and make it better than my bored mind will let me right now.
- Remove Distractions – Make a list of the things that are distracting you from finishing your book and get rid of them. It will be tough to sacrifice that show you want to watch or that mindless task that is keeping you from writing, but in the end your book will get done. Isn’t that why you are writing in the first place? If you are not writing, you are not a writer.
- Treat Yo-self – If you save all those shows on a DVR or wait until Friday to pop down to the pub, you will find those activities that much more rewarding if you only get to do those if you’ve written a substantial amount of words. However, you need to reward yourself for hard work. I will often punish myself by not doing those things at the end of the week if I haven’t written, and spend the entire weekend writing. The point is to reward hard work with much needed time for unwinding.
- Set Manageable Goals – I have used several different time-management tools to keep me on task, but don’t get stuck into one form of time-management. If the time-management tool you are using doesn’t work for you then find another one that works. I used to let Scrivener set my word count goals for the day based on getting a 50K word document finished by a certain date, but days of not working on the document made the word goal for each day rise beyond manageable numbers. I currently try to get one complete chapter done per writing session, however long the word count will be. Be flexible with goals in order to meet those goals without failing to reach them.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up – I am the worst at feeling awful that I didn’t write daily. I live a pretty busy life. I am a high school teacher, a father of four teens, and also manage an alternative education program. Finding time to write is sometimes difficult. However, I have to make time, not do that activity that would be a time-waster or a leisurely activity, and generally manage my time so that I can get things done. I have quit feeling bad that I don’t write one or two days a week, and that has been much better for my psyche when I sit down to tackle those word counts.