I've been trying to stick to my writing goals for 2011 (which ironically include me writing less). The number one item on my list was to PRIORITISE (you can see the complete list in 7 Tips for a Writer's Year).
As much as I love writing scenes, the priority this year is for me to edit. Using many books and an online course to guide me, I completed my edits on Dog Show Detective. All I needed to do was type up the revised manuscript. Easy. You would think. I don't think procrastinating will be a new concept to any fellow writers/bloggers, but I made an art of it. Enough! This is the new 2011 productive me, so, last night I sat down and typed up the remaining five chapters. And now it is DONE! Feels good, I can now format the manuscript, and start sending it out.
There are many ways to prioritise your writing, here are some I found:
- Lists. I love 'em. Keep them short and not an extensive overview of every task needed before you purchase your novel from a bookstore. Focus on the NOW. For me it was my Dog Show Detective manuscript. Next will be a list of steps for editing either Digging Up Death or The Costume Maker. This will make your goal seem more attainable and hopefully encourage you to hurry up and achieve it. If you struggle with keeping your lists short, then fine, write up a four page itinerary of all the writing tasks ahead of you - but then - you are only allowed to choose a MAXIMUM of 5 tasks for your to-do list. Yep, 5.
- Allocate Time. My most productive times have been where I have a set time of 1-2hrs a day which is my 'writing time' I was not allowed to break for tea, snacks or go online during that time. It was time for WORK. I find this hard to keep up as work and family make changes. It's worth a try though.
- Be Objective. If you were your boss, would you put up with all your time-wasting? I would have sacked my butt ages ago if I were paying me (ooh, maybe you could pay yourself an hourly rate, and that money is how much you have available for buying books?).
- Schedule the Distractions. I'm going to try this one. I'll give my self set times of the day that I'm allowed to blog-hop, twitter, Facebook, etc. And I won't be allowed on any other time.
- Prioritise by Urgencia (urgency - see, I'm learning Spanish). It's easy to think there are no deadlines for writing when no urges you. But you can set them. I need my manuscripts ready for a Children and YA Writers Conference I'll be attending later this year, so I can submit them to the attending publishers.
- Prioritise by Passion. Maybe there's an unfinished manuscript calling to you while you work on your WIP. Maybe you've lost that loving feeling with your WIP. You could switch for a while, you may be more productive on the one with more appeal. Maybe make this a one time only pass though, or you might keep swapping every time your WIP drags.
- Keep a Writing Journal. This is not your ideas notebook, but a journal to record what writing tasks you complete that day. It can be a motivator when you do well and a reminder when you get a few days of 'nothing'.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique. This is an very efficient way of forcing productivity. Each project has the steps, planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualising. You work on each task for 25 minutes and then break for 3-5minutes. Then you move to the next task. There is no finishing early, you keep going until your timer sounds 25, and you can not keep working on the same task after 25 minutes. To find out more, you can check out:
or the Pomodoro Technique site for free downloads of worksheets and manuals:
How do you get yourself productive? I know some writers can work on a dozen different projects, write at 3am - 5am or work around the clock until it's done, but sleep rings pretty high on my priority list too. Pinkachu agrees with me: