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.
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.
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.
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!