Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Increase your Writing Productivity

In the past I used to treat myself to my own little writer retreats by taking off for a long weekend at a great hotel, where I would spend one day shopping and then two or more days sitting by the pool or  in my room for long hours of writing.  Since I often wrote in notebooks, I didn’t worry about batteries going dead or needing a place to plug in. I actually bought an early electronic portable typewriter back in 1984 just for the purpose of writing wherever I was. I think it’s still in the basement somewhere. These days I am still looking for ways to increase my productivity as a writer.  Here are a few things that I have discovered work for me and have worked for others too:

1.  One of my habits that I have always had is carrying a small notebook  with me  at all times. Actually I have a small one in my purse and another in my car that are always handy if I stop someplace for lunch and want to write. On more than one occasion I’ve written a scene or two or a blog while I’m waiting for someone or between courses.
2.  Writing sprints are good, short ways to work. I have a kitchen alarm that I can set for a few minutes or up to an hour and then just work until it rings. Sometimes I just reset it if I find myself in the middle of a good scene or I just turn it off and keep on going.  
3.  Keeping track daily of my word count helps me not only strive for more but also shows me how much I am getting done every day and every month of the year. I have been doing this for several years now so I know that I will be most productive when I do the annual NaNoWriMo and turn out 50,000 words. But that word count has also prompted me to try for that amount during other months of the year.  
4.  Doing NaNo or other such group activities like Book in A Week where you have to turn in a word count can also get up your work count and productivity. They can provide a reason to be accountable. I have several writing groups that do BIAW from time to time and I always try to take part because it means I will work really extra hard for those weeks and that usually translates to increased word counts for several more weeks. 
5.  Critique groups can also help. I’ve heard quite a few people say they like being in a critique group because it means they will have to produce pages for the next week.  Sometimes the writing  might not be the best work, but those writers also say the pages can provide a good starting point and because they are taking them to their critique group, they’ll get help on improving them.
Those are just a few ways to get going. But there is always that weekend retreat you can try. I still sometimes do it, but if I can't afford to get away, I’ve also done my own writing retreat at home. I ignore the TV, turn off the phone ringer, and unplug the internet so I’m not tempted to check email or Facebook. Then I sit at my computer and work.
The only distraction I might allow myself is another way to get inspiration and that is music. I put on something that either fits what I’m working on or perhaps something soothing. When I’m writing a love scene I like romantic tunes or when I’m writing break ups, I’ve often used very sad songs.
Any of these ideas can work at any time. Sometimes the simplest solution works the best. Just sit down and work. Any other ideas for getting up that word count?  

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