There is a lot of information to be found on how to write a book. For novelists, one can find out how to develop characters, how to outline your plot, how to describe a setting, how to write dialogue, and more. For nonfiction writers, there is so much information out there on how to organize, structure your ideas, and research. But what about the more practical questions regarding writing? If you have the motivation to sit down and write, well… how do you do it?
Do you write first thing in the morning, before work? After work? Only on the weekends? What if you don’t have an office at home, do you go to a coffeeshop? What if the coffeeshop is too noisy? How do you keep yourself motivated? All of these practical matters are real things to be considered when writing your book. At Dorrance, we support writers at every stage of the writing process, and increasing your productivity is no exception. Here are some logistical, practical tips to help you as you write your book.
Set up a schedule
Finding and honoring the time to write is perhaps the greatest obstacle to writing. If you’re new to the practice of writing a longer work, start simple. Think about your schedule and find a time of day that works for you to write. For example, if you are finished with work and dinner, take time to rest, and have free time in the evening at 7:00 pm, set 7 o’clock as your writing time. Set aside forty minutes to an hour to do nothing else but write every day. If you find yourself with writer’s block, use the time to make character notes or go over your outline. That way you are still being productive on your work at the same time every day.
If committing to write every day is too much for you due to prior commitments, pick a couple of days a week. Once you’ve worked out a writing time that works for you, mark your writing time in your calendar or planner. If calendars and planners don’t work for you, write it on a sticky note and put it in a place you will see it!
Have a designated area to write in
Having a designated space to write in also helps switch your brain to writing mode. This could be a space in your home, or a place outside the home such as a local coffeeshop. Be honest with yourself about what your ideal writing environment should look and sound like. For example, if the local coffeeshop is too noisy for you, don’t suffer through it because it’s close to home. Maybe try a space in your house or apartment or at a local library. Whatever your space is, make sure it is a space you go to write or work on your manuscript only. Leave the space when your writing time is over. This will not only help increase your focus and productivity, but it will also help your brain switch to writing mode for next time.
While these tricks regarding time and place are meant to be helpful, they are also not meant to stifle anyone’s creativity. Inspiration can strike at any time of the day. If you feel motivated to write outside of your normal time or in an unconventional space, always do so! Maybe in your bed at 3 am is your writing place and time – it’s about finding what works for you.
In addition to having a designated space and time, comfort must be considered when writing. Writing is a stationary activity and as a result can be hard on the body. Use a comfortable, ergonomic seat when you can. Perhaps invest in a standing desk. It is important to assume a posture that works for you and your body, whether you use a computer or handwrite your draft.
Set Clear Goals
Set goals for yourself on a day to day, week to week, or month to month basis. While the big end goal is to finish your manuscript, it is helpful to set smaller goals for yourself along the way. You can set goals related to reaching a certain word count – for example, to write 5,000 words in a week. Other goals can be smaller, such as writing without looking at your phone during your set writing time. Setting goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue with your writing journey so you can reach the ultimate goal of finishing your manuscript. Reward yourself for reaching the goals if you can with rewards you like.
Practice positive self-talk
Even with all these considerations, it is entirely possible that you fall off your schedule or don’t reach your goal for productivity right away. When this happens, it is important not to talk down to yourself. You are still a writer, and your story still deserves to be told. Simply try altering something in your routine, such as your writing time or place. Reach out to trusted friends to confide in about your struggles. Seek out forums and groups for writers online for support from writers who have gone through similar things. It is highly likely that there are others out there who are feeling similarly as you.
At the end of the day, writing a book is hard work and it can often be hard to maintain productivity. We hope the above tips are helpful for you and lead to a productive writing journey. If you would like extra help with maintaining productivity, consider Dorrance Publishing’s Writing Coach services. Our writing coaches are professional personal trainers for writers who will help you meet your writing goals.
And when you are finished and ready to publish, contact our team!