This morning my mind was full of all kinds of things I could do rather than to create some focused writing time.
I had been woken abruptly at 2.30am while in the depths a big dream and in the dream, I was achieving loads of great things. I reached for my journal and scribbled like mad.
Unfortunately this morning after my doggie walk I felt myself being drawn to exploring these other things rather than write two blogs and complete my next monthly life journal.
Luckily sense prevailed and when I considered my week’s goals and I decided priorities first, fun next.
And that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? We feel drawn to shiny objects and unicorn rides rather than the task at hand.
However, I find that once I send my unicorn back to Shangrila, and start writing, my flow and productivity return.
Quite simply you have to make a choice about creating focused writing time and do it.
Creating focused writing time starts with your environment
How do you like to write? In a crowded café, hot chocolate and biscuits to dunk, or in a peaceful place with no noise or interruptions?
What about making your space comfortable? What do you need to make yourself a writing den? What about your desk and chair? What about the energy of the space?
If you have read any of my blogs you will know that I am the quiet writing type. Sometimes I will play loud music before I write, but more often than not it’s the silence that works best for me to focus.
On a tangent when I do other creative activities, I do love music which strangely helps me to focus.
Decide where you want to write. Is this in bed, on the sofa or in the office? Do you like smells, sounds, silence or something else? TV or radio on in the background? What about people? I find it a pain to be interrupted when I am writing, do you?
Morning baby or night owl?
I love the mornings and for me, this is when I get my energy. Typically, when I wake I want to write, either in my journal or an article for a blog or book.
What I find is if I can get my first thoughts out in the morning, later in the day I can edit just as easily.
However, you may be a night owl and find this is when you have the most energy.
The key is to find what time of day you get the most energy and to capitalise on it.
Try either end of the day and find what works for you. Create a ritual and get in the groove.
Where does your inspiration come from?
What usually happens is when I start my day, I set a silence intention that I want to write something. When I go for a walk, words usually come into my mind.
This works because I have asked, set an intention and let it go. Walking in nature creates space for ideas to come.
My writing inspiration also comes in at tangents, I may hear something on the news or read something totally disconnected to writing, but which sends the data train down many different neural pathways, picking up passengers and then the words flow.
If words come that don’t make sense, I scribble these in my journal and use them later.
Try asking for ideas, set intentions and then let them go. To make this work you need space and time. When you do this you will find that your writing time is more focused.
Are you a planner or pantser?
When you want to get your daily writing done, what happens? Do you stare at a blank screen or have you planned it out so that you know what you are going to be writing about?
If I am writing a book and therefore, I need to focus on getting that chapter done I will plan it out. Before I write I will review the chapter, decide how long I have to write and start at the beginning. Where I get stuck or maybe need to research, I’ll skip these and book time in my diary to come back to these later.
When it comes to blogs, I will have asked the questions, set the intentions, go for a walk and when I come back I will do one of these depending on how I feel.
- Dig out my journal and brainstorm my ideas and then write
- Open up WORD and create a round outline and write
- Open up WORD, write and then put headings in
I am a typical planner, however, I usually go with what feels the way to write in the moment.
Typically planning your writing, that is outline a piece will help you to create better and focused writing time.
Get rid of rubbish activities
I never have a problem booking in writing time, because I love writing, however, when it comes to my Spanish homework, I tend to procrastinate and yes, you have guessed I write instead…
What I do is look at what time I waste by watching rubbish TV or scrolling through my social media. Although there is an argument for some downtime. Just not an entire evening eh?
I am good at being firm with myself and I turn things off and put my phone in the bedroom and get on with what I have to do.
What are your rubbish activties? Make a list and shock yourself with how much unproductive time you spend. Decide to replace this time with focused writing time.
Putting aside time in your diary
This seems so simple, so why doesn’t it work?
I hear people saying I must find the time, create time or make time. They also talk about trying to find, create or make time.
Time is finite, you cannot find, create or make time. There are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. You know the rest of the formula. Once time has gone that is it — but you know that.
If this is the right book or blog you will mark time in your diary and do it. If it is the wrong book or not a priority, chances are you won’t put the time in your diary.
I get it, I understand and like you, I have commitments. Like you, I can make some great excuses.
So what can you do?
Try this focused writing time method
- Have a plan, set goals, put publishing dates in your diary and set your intention to get your writing done
- Understand how you like to write and develop a brilliant habit around your preferences
- Create a mind map, outline or a list of what you are going to write about
- Get all of your tools ready — pen, paper, computer and printer
- Set up your writing environment so that writing is pleasurable
- Pre warn your loved ones that you need writing time and get rid of other distractions
On the day
- Clear your desk — just scoop it all up and move it somewhere else, out of your range — make a note to go through it and declutter
- Get some water, staying hydrated is vital
- Have your mind map or outline to hand
- Block out your writing time
- Turn off distractions — no social media or mobile, put a note up on your door (go away) — do this even though you will have told your family
- Set a timer (www.e.eggtimer.com) for 55 minutes writing and 5 to 15 minutes shaking it out
- Decide how many writing sessions you are going to have and make sure the time you take between gives you enough time to refresh your brain
- If you are a fan of Pomodoro, then write for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break and come back
- Look directly at your screen — focus on it, make sure there is nothing in your direct vision but the screen
- No editing, just write and if you get stuck, make a note to ‘come back later’
- Other things to do are to decide on a word goal. On weekends, typically you will have more time to write, so chunk your book down, set a word goal and go for it
- Have a reward
- Mark off your planner that you have completed another x words
- Go and do something else — all work and no play…
- Plan your next writing stint
Look at the suggestions and make it work for you. What can you add in or take away?
Good luck with getting your writing done.
Remember to connect with me when you are ready to get your book, planned, written, published and productised. We will work together and make sure you have a book you love which raises your visibility and positions you as an expert in your niche.
Originally published at https://www.bookbrandbusiness.com on August 4, 2019.