Okay, between 40K and 50K a month. And I still manage to sleep, believe it or not! I won’t tell you that by doing this you will be able to write the same amount – it all depends on your current circumstances too.
That said, some of these tips you’ve probably seen before, but, hey, turns out it’s because they actually work. I’m still working on getting the best work-life balance going; especially since writing is my day job and a (very serious) hobby. (I still feel like fiction writing, for me, is a hobby.) But, at first, for me, the most difficult thing was to get a proper pace of writing outside the mad rush that is NaNoWriMo.
Write (almost every day)
I try to take at least one day off from writing (though I’ll admit I do make notes during the day – but on paper). The main reason for this is that I want to have at least one day where I’m not typing as, the other six days of the week, I could be typing for hours on end if I factor in the typing I do at work as well.
I usually take Sundays off, but there’s no reason why it can’t be Saturday or any other day of the week that suits your schedule. If you always write by hand, I applaud you!
Plan what you’re going to write about
Even if you only start out with a vague idea it’s better than nothing. The biggest mistake I make is sitting down in front of the computer with no inkling of what I want to or need to write about. It’s then that I’ll type a few words, delete them, stare at the screen, and finally decide I need some more tea before I can do anything.
If you can, keep a list of what you’re going to write about every day of the week, or decide the day before what the next scene or story is that you’re going to work on in your next writing session.
I find that even just saying “Porselein” or “Ruon Chronicles” gives me enough to go on some days as I already know where I am in the WIPs.
Of course, you need to give yourself leeway as well for those story ideas that pop up and that you have to write immediately. I love it when that happens!
Twitter be gone!
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – Social Media and The Internet needs not to be around when I’m writing otherwise I end up taking a break and realising 45 minutes later that I’ve wasted nearly an hour on Twitter.
I do go on the internet when I need to look up something that is pertinent to the story and will influence what happens next. Then I do it on my tablet though, as I only use it as a Kindle and to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. The amount of apps on there, I think, is five. It helps to keep me focused.
Of course, you can always put a block on the internet while you’re busy writing or use one of those webpage/app blockers to ensure that you stay on track with your research.
If you see an Instagram photo while I’m writing, by the way, it’s taken during one of my breaks. Or when Sir Tristan takes over all the notebooks and the laptop in one fell swoop.
Have a break
Talking about breaks; if you don’t use the Pomodoro technique, I suggest taking a break at least every 45 minutes. Get up, stretch your legs. Get the cat off your notebooks. Wash the dishes quickly. Dance around. Whatever.
Write even when the muses are on vacation
This is one of the most difficult things to do in writing – writing when it seems like there’s just no inspiration anywhere to write. But, if you need to get Stuff Done, you’d better get inspiration somewhere, right?
I find that, instead of going onto Pinterest (which is a rabbit hole of neverending scrolling once you get into looking for “a dress for character x” when you should be researching “how to poison someone fast”), it’s a lot better to put on some music that either inspires you to write. Here, I find, white noise doesn’t work as well as music.
Everyone has their own taste in music, not to mention music they can work to. I find Radical Face, a-ha, Westlife, Celtic Woman, the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit soundtracks by Howard Shore, Jeremy Soule, Two Steps From Hell, Adrian von Ziegler, Brunuhville, and Celestial Aeon Project wonderful.
I’ve also discovered the YouTube channels Geytkeypur, as well as Ambient Worlds, which I can really recommend.
Keep an Idea List
On your phone, in a notebook, in various notebooks, in a Word document, etc.; keeping an idea list is an indispensable way of making sure that you always have something to write or to write about. It’s also a great way of noting down those fleeting ideas that pop up at random moments during the day.
Remind yourself why you are writing
Perhaps there is a specific writer or book that got you writing? Read a few pages of the book, read an interview with the writer, even light a candle and meditate to remember the thrill of starting a new story.
If you also can’t help but write, remind yourself of that as well. And this is very important no one has to see the first, or even second, draft of what you’re busy writing.
Sometimes we only need a new boost of inspiration or to capture an old emotion again.
Get another hobby as well
Okay, besides reading. I’m not saying knitting and/or crochet, but they are awesome hobbies. Having another creative outlet, whether it’s baking or Bible journaling, gives your brain a chance to rest or at least work on elements in your subconscious.
It’s not the end of the world
In the end, it’s not the end of the world if you skip a day – or two – of writing to let your brain and body recharge!