Five Tips to Increasing Productivity for Authors
By Laxmi Hariharan
One of the most difficult things about being an author is to get down the words. You spend days thinking about writing, then the time comes to sit down to write and every possible distraction gets in the way. From social media, to shopping, and paying your bills, all of it gets in your way when you switch on the laptop and open the page of the manuscript.
Here are five easy tips to help you increase your word count and get one step closer to completing your book.
A. Plot before you write
This is the most important piece of advice you’ll get here. If you plot before you write, then you know where you are headed. Your subconscious mind will done some of the work for you before you come to the writing desk.
It need not be very detailed, but a simple start, middle and ending of the book, ideally broken down by chapter is great.
It means you can refer to the notes on the chapters and always start from where you left off. Most importantly it means you don’t feel that you are starting afresh each time you come back to the manuscript.
Books that can help you with this process are: Plot Gardening, Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox, Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawke
Time yourself. See if you can just keep writing until the alarm goes off. Start with fifteen minutes and build up to 45 minutes or an hour. During this time, you don’t have permission to take your fingers off the keyboard. Keep writing, no matter that you are not happy with the words, or even if you feel what you are writing is terrible.
The goal is to write without a break, without distractions during that period of time. Then break, get a drink of water, or check your social media or emails, then get back to writing.
At the end of the day the chunks of uninterrupted writing time would have built up to something substantial.
If you can’t start with fifteen minutes start with ten. Start small and build up.
C. Eat the frog
One thing that will help to get the words down is the ‘eat the frog’ principle. i.e. Get those words down first thing in the morning. Get it done and out before you move on to the other things in your life.
Do you want to avoid the temptation of surfing the internet or social media sites to help you get to writing faster? The following apps can help in that.
When I come to the writing desk, I check all my social media, and my emails, then switch on the app for forty-five minutes at a time. It’s free to download and you can use it to block out all distracting social sites. Even if you find yourself trying to get onto Facebook, it will block the site, ensuring you stay rooted in your story.
Self-Control lets you specify the sites that distract you and then block them for a specified session. You can either list the sites you don’t want to go to or whitelist the only sites you’ll permit yourself. This is particularly helpful if you have certain sites you need for work but don’t want access to the rest of the internet.
This is a powerful distraction blocker, that once installed can be used to block distracting websites and apps.
One bonus of Freedom is that you can schedule focus sessions in advance. For example, if your willpower is always weak when you first get to work and you have a tendency to visit social media sites, then you can create a daily focus session that will automatically begin at a set time and prevent you from visiting those sites.
If you really want to hunker down, you can use the “Locked Mode” to prevent you from disabling the app.
D. Productivity Apps
This has helped make a big jump in my productivity. I simply hook on Brain.FM and use the specialized music to drown out all the noise and worries in my head so I am focused simply on the writing. There’s a free trial period so you can try and see if this works for you.
Focus Music FM
If you’re into deep house and EDM – then check this out. An app with the right kind of music to help you focus on work.
E. Quit while you are ahead
Counter intuitive as this may seem, this is key. By the end of the session I find I am in the groove and speeding along and that’s when I stop and take a break. It means when I resume I don’t face any blocks because I can still see where I am going, so there are no excuses then but to keep going. Ideally, I try to time each session with a chapter and try to get through most of the chapter in the sprint session.
Laxmi Hariharan is a New York Times Bestselling. Claim your free books from Laxmi here http://www.laxmihariharan.com/NL
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