Thanks, Serena, for inviting me here today!
Lost For Words?
Put an end to procrastination
Some days I just don’t know where to start! I play a little on the internet, read my emails, play a little more (although I prefer to call it ‘research’) and before I know it the day has gone- not a word has been written and my writing opportunity wasted.
Now I’m published I have to write to deadline- a big and scary thing that adds worry to my procrastination. But somehow I still spend far too much time playing and not enough writing.
So, after even more research I’ve developed a few strategies that I use every day. Using these have increased my word count no end and, more importantly, have reduced my stress/guilt levels.
1. Get Organised
So, I had files all over my computer in Word folders- cut bits, important scenes, ideas. I had a page of links to research (I’m a medical romance writer so I need to do quite a lot of research), another one of photos for my story collage. But every time I wanted to look at them I had to open another document, then another, until one day I got so confused as to where I was that I found that I’d written and edited on the wrong darned document and lost a heap of good stuff! Now I have Scrivener
There are many different writing programmes available (such as: snowflake pro, writersblocks.com, writewaypro.com, writerscafe.co.uk) so if you’re interested in getting one you should do your research carefully. Scrivener works for me. I have everything in one place and can happily click away to my heart’s content! This is a screen shot of my Scrivener folder for my second book Waking Up with His Runaway Bride (out in July 12). On the left is the binder with all my relevant documents in it. The middle is where I write (although you can use full screen too), to the right I keep document and project notes, have a synopsis of my chapter- and my hero! You can try before you buy and there are lots of youtube videos to take you through the way it works!
2. Bum In Seat
Make a date: Show up on time!
If you want to have a successful career as a writer you have to write. Mark out your writing opportunities in your dairy and stick to them!
I use a nifty little programme called Freedom. It is ‘internet blocking productivity software’ that stops something (cookies, I think-but I’m not a techie!) and you can’t get on to the internet for a set time. You set the time. It’s available for macs and pcs. The first time I used this I trebled my hourly output!
4. Plan what you are going to write.
My biggest time suck is the internet. I waste far too much time flicking through facebook and twitter. However, one good blog I came across was Rachel Aaron's who tells us how she increased her writing output to 7,000 words a day! I use a couple of her techniques. One of which is to plan what I am going to write that day before I start. Either longhand, or in the document notes section of Scrivener eg: (taken from my third book):
-they walk to pool
-have swim to cool off
-he kisses her
-they eat; he’s brought her food from places she’s going to visit, how does this affect her?
-she touches his tattoo- what does he feel/ think?
-he talks about his life before the accident/ what tattoo means
This way I have a list I can work through- I’m not plotting at this stage, just planning.
5. Have a deadline tracker
Scrivener has a great project tracker and can show statistics on number of words written/ most common words used etc. But I like to set myself even more rigid deadlines. I have a daily word count I have to achieve, a deadline for novel completion, one for editing completion, one for submission etc. The easiest way to do this is creating something that’s going to work for you in Excel, although you can find lots of examples on the internet.
6. Don’t lose the fun
This writing gig can be hard work at times- but it’s essential we don’t forget the joy we get from creating stories. Make time to ‘fill the well’- go for a walk, look at the ocean, take in a movie. Refresh, relax and recharge.
Once you’ve got all these steps in place- all you have to do is write! No excuses!
Do you have any other tips on how to increase productivity or decrease procrastination? I’d love to hear them!
About Louisa George:
I was born and brought up in Yorkshire, England. And yes, many hours were spent on the brooding, bleak Yorkshire Moors dreaming of Heathcliff and other dark, tortured heroes! I read avidly from a young age, and it seemed a natural extension that I would pen my own stories and poems (the early ones are locked away in a drawer where they should stay for eternity!).
Then followed years of studying, nurse training and marriage, two kids and well.... life took over and writing was put aside as a lofty dream.
We emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 2002, to feed our passion for travel. It was a place we had never visited and knew no-one - what a thrill! We soon felt very much at home. It is a wonderful place to bring up children.... and to follow your dreams.
Strange things happen here. While doing chores I began to get strings of poetry writing itself in my head, then story ideas would suddenly formulate out of nowhere, characters were telling me their stories and demanding I wrote them! I decided I either needed to visit a doctor or get some therapy! In the end I did neither, but instead I enrolled in an evening class in Creative Writing and have been writing poetry and stories in snatched moments of spare time ever since.
Blurb : One Month To Become A Mum
Some things in life are worth waiting for…
Jessie Price has lost her only chance at motherhood – it’s a constant hurt, until she meets sinfully sexy single dad Dr Luke McKenzie and his gorgeous little girl. Luke’s intoxicating kisses and his daughter’s adoring hugs have Jessie longing for the impossible. But she's a temporary locum, the clock’s ticking – and there’s only a month to make all her wishes come true…