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3 Reasons You’re Not Writing as Much as You Could be

Writing is hard. Getting that first draft down is difficult, and it can often feel like you’re drowning in words. But it is possible, and with these tips, you’ll be able to get it done in no time.

Time Wasting

Want to know how to write more? Stop wasting time doing nothing.

Be honest: how much time do you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat and various other sites around the internet?

The internet is the perfect hang out for procrastinators because there’s a never ending supply of information, both useful and useless.

But be careful you don’t get trapped: before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour scrolling through Facebook and all you’ve learnt is the name of your former co-worker’s new dog, and seen a dozen photos of your ex-school friend’s kid.

If you’re the kind of person that gets stuck scrolling through the internet, there are apps available (such as Cold Turkey) where you can block certain sites from your computer for a period of time, or only allow yourself a few minutes a day.

Another big time-waster is watching TV. It’s fun. In fact, I love watching TV and used to spend most of my time doing so. But I never actually achieved anything. Most of the time, I wasn’t actively watching what I was doing: I didn’t take in the set, the plot, the character development, the choice of language, etc. I was just watching for enjoyment. Productivity-wise, I achieved nothing.

I managed to wean myself away from the TV by unintentionally moving into a house without an aerial. When the aerial did finally get installed, I was so used to writing in the evenings that I was no longer interested in the TV.

If you fall into the same trap as me, try working somewhere away from the TV, either in a different room, a library, a cafe, or a park. Get as far away from the TV as you possibly can.

And remember: there’s always TiVo.

Other Hobbies

Want to know how to write more? Dedicate more time to it than your other hobbies.

How much time do you spend per week on hobbies that don’t help with your writing? Like gaming, for instance.

I miss playing Pokemon and would love to finish Valiant Hearts, but whenever I get the urge to play, a voice inside my head says, You should be writing. And it’s right. I should be.

The only game I still play is King’s Quest, and that’s because it’s released in chapters, so I can take 3 or 4 hours once every few months to play the next one: I’m not playing it obsessively, like I could be if I still played World of Warcraft.

I have huge respect for the gaming community and the amount of time and effort people put into what they do, but what does it actually achieve? In real life, those successes don’t account for anything. You don’t progress as a human being, nor will you earn more money or get more respect from your peers (outside of gaming). Games — particularly MMORPGs — are huge time sinks. Don’t fall into that trap if you want to finish your manuscript any time soon.

Self-Doubt

You'll never be able to write more if you let self-doubt win.

You know that little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t write, you shouldn’t write, you’re never going to get anywhere with your writing? That’s your self-doubt talking.

What that little voice doesn’t factor in is that you won’t get better with practise. And you can’t practise if you’re spending your time on other things.

The best way to deal with the self-doubt is to sit down and do it anyway.

You love writing, don’t you?

Then why should anything else stop you?

It’s difficult, I know, but the only person who can overcome your self-doubt is you. You have to have the will power to tell that little voice where to shove it. You and you alone are the one that can defeat it. And you can do it.

The Short of it

If you want to successfully write a book and get it published, you should be dedicating as much time to it as possible. Spending time on the internet, watching TV, and playing games are just a few examples of things you could cut back on so that you have time to write more.

Ultimately, if you want to make a success of something, it has to become your life. A book deal won’t fall into your lap, and self-publishing your work successfully isn’t just about putting your book online and hoping someone sees it.

What methods have you used to increase your productivity? I’d love to hear your tips!

Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list for the latest news on my upcoming book, Productivity for Writers!

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ABOUT
Kristina Adams

Kristina Adams is an author of fiction and nonfiction, writing and productivity blogger, and occasional poet. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Derby and an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. When she's not writing she's reading, baking, or finding other ways to destroy the kitchen. She can be found under a pile of books with a vanilla latte.

2 Comments

  • 22nd February, 2016 at 13:29
    Richard Vince

    Thank you for writing this; I’m very glad I read it. 🙂 I’ve been working somewhat vaguely on a novel for the past seven or so years, and although I’ve made loads of notes about characters and events, and written pieces of dialogue and even entire passages, I still feel unable to start pulling the whole thing together. All of this article (except the bit about watching TV, as my house doesn’t have a working aerial :)) struck a chord with me, but I think my main problem is self doubt: I’m afraid to discover that I’m actually not a good enough writer to do my ideas justice. Thank you for encouraging me to just go for it. 🙂

    REPLY
    • 22nd February, 2016 at 18:08

      Thanks Richard, I’m so glad you found this piece useful and it’s encouraged you to go for it! You definitely should. I’ve heard so many writers say that it’s the self-doubt that’s stopping them, and I completely relate, but there comes a point where you have to take the leap of faith anyway. Good luck!

      REPLY

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