You’ve got a book to write! Maybe you’re on a publisher’s deadline, or maybe you’re an indie who needs to create more content to keep your audience engaged. Whatever the case, producing a 50k-100k-word manuscript is no small undertaking. It requires commitment, discipline, and good habits to stay productive. Here are 7 strategies to help get the job done:
1. Schedule writing time.
For many people, the rhythm of writing at the same time every day works. Maybe it’s early in the morning when you’re feeling fresh, or later in the evening when the house is quiet. Whatever the case, plan it into your day and hold that time sacred.
2. Turn off or minimize distractions.
Disconnect from the internet so you won’t be disturbed by incoming email or social media notifications. Find a space where you won’t be interrupted, whether that’s a home office, a coffee shop, or the library.
3. Set a daily word-count goal.
Make it realistic and manageable, but also aggressive enough to show good forward progress. If you don’t hit the minimum word-count one day, because, well, life happens, try to make up for it the next.
4. Take breaks.
Get some fresh air. Have some tea. You’ll still be thinking about your story, but stepping away, even for a few minutes, can help clear your head. You might even solve that plot tangle over a cup of Earl Grey!
5. Don’t aim for perfection when drafting.
This isn’t the time to spend hours on thesaurus.com searching for just the right word. You’ll have time to finesse your book during edits. Right now, get the bones of the story out and on paper.
6. Try a writing sprint.
Set a stopwatch for thirty minutes and write as much as you can in that amount of time. This is fun to do with a fellow writer, but it’s also a good way to kick start your writing session or push through a block. Remember, this is only a draft. You’ll have time to edit later.
7. Plan for tomorrow.
Spend the last few minutes of your writing session thinking about what’s coming. Briefly outline the next chapter or even the next scene. When you know where you’re heading, you can jump right into it as soon as you sit down to write again.
I’ll admit it, I’m slow writer. In the past, when I’d hear a friend mention his 5k word-count day, or I’d watch a fellow indie release one new book every three or four months, I was intimidated and more than a little envious. But over the years I’ve incorporated the above-mentioned strategies into my writing life with noticeably positive results. I’ll still never have a 5k word-count day, but I am a productive writer – able to meet my deadlines, juggle multiple projects, and keep the creative energy flowing. There is no magic formula for success, but good habits can certainly make a difference!