Sunday, December 18, 2022

How To Be Prolific


You write a lot. 

OK, but how do you write a lot?

You have to focus.

OK, but how do you focus?

Now we’re getting to it. And I have to warn you. It’s easy to fool yourself about how much you actually write. So one way to focus is to document how much you actually write. 

SPOILER ALERT: you most likely think you spend more time writing than you do because all those little breaks, even just looking at your email or going to the kitchen to make coffee or grab a little snack or going to the bathroom TAKE TIME. Your writing time. So be exact. How much time do you write?

There are two reasons this is important. If you know how much time you’re writing, then you can figure out how many words you write, on average, in a certain amount of time, say an hour. It will motivate you to compete with yourself if you’re like me. BUT here’s the more important, in my opinion, reason. You can’t just turn writing on and off like your turn the water on and off at your kitchen sink. Doesn’t work that way. If you get distracted while you’re writing, you lose your focus and when you lose your focus your writing speed and, often, writing quality go way down. When you lose focus you lose momentum.Writing is going well. It’s like coasting down a hill. But you stop. You interrupt. When you come back, you aren’t going down a hill. You aren’t even on a flat straightaway. You’re going uphill. You just looked at your email and you’re going uphill.

Sucks, right?

You want to be prolific? It’s easy. Write a lot. Write going downhill. Don’t allow interruptions. 

WHAT TO DO: Short version: avoid distractions/ MAKE WRITING TIME WRITING TIME.

1.    Get yourself to a place where others won’t interrupt you. Set an amount of time to write before you take a break. Some like sprints of 15-20 minutes. I get going and I prefer to keep writing for an hour or an hour and a half before I break.

2.    DO not interrupt yourself. No checking messages. No looking at facebook or whatever your social media preference is. No looking up questions the manuscript brings up by visiting google or websites (do that after writing time).

3.    Some people mediate for a couple minutes before writing and some visualize the scene they’re about to write and some spend a couple minutes writing out what might happen in the scene and what it moves forward (plot, character, setting?)—this would be me. DO something to get yourself into the scene and then write it.

4.    Keep track of how much you write in each session. There will be some variation but you should get more words and better words as your focus gets stronger.


 Good luck,