Every time I sit down to write, it never fails. Something interrupts me. It might be the dog, the ding alerting me to a new email, or the daydreams of other projects I might someday work on in the future. If you’re a writer who is reading this right now, then I know you can relate to distractions interfering with the writing process.
Distractions are detours on the path to becoming a bestselling novelist. They’re like quicksand, dragging you far away from competing your work in progress. Fortunately there are things you can do to combat the daily distractions that interfere with your writing.
Take a Page from the Plotters
You don’t have to be a plotter to produce content like one. Writing in the void without knowing what comes risks producing tens of thousands of words that you’ll end up cutting later. Some authors find this essential to the process. I find it’s word vomit that gives the quicksand of distraction a slightly foul smell.
- Come up with a tagline for your story that embraces the basic plot. Even if the end of your story changes, the basic plot usually remains the same throughout the book.
- Replace your traditional outline with a mind map. Write the basic plot in the center of the page. Then use lines (straight, squiggly, or zigzag – your choice!) to connect ideas to the plot. I like to use straight for characters, squiggly for places, and zigzag for events.
- Fill out a character development page for each one of your main characters. Use Google Images to find people who best resemble the characters. Keep these pages handy as you write to remind you of the details. Middle-grade author Laura Emmons says, “I find that if I know my characters well before I start writing my novel, I’m less likely to develop writer’s block.” She’s right!
Use NaNoWriMo Strategies
As a social media manager, I have to keep up with social media. It’s an essential part of my job. I also need to write however. How do I manage both? I’m a sprinter.
No, I’m not talking about sprinting like Abbey D’agostino and Nikki Hamblin from the Rio Olympics 2016.
Writing sprints are short bursts of time in which you do nothing but write. That’s it. I find it helpful to sprint with a group. (If you’re looking for an online sprinting group, then check out Sprints & Spirits on Facebook. It’s free and the members are awesome.)
Join a Writing Group
My local group, The Mountain Scribes, is awesome. The other members are not only a constantly source of emotional support, but they also challenge me to write outside my comfort zone. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
When searching for a local writing group, ask yourself these questions:
- When does the writing group meet?
- Where does the writing group meet?
- Is the writing group gender-specific?
- Who is in this writing group?
- What are the goals of the group members?
Members of the Mountain Scribes, for example, share a common goal – getting published. Whether on our own blog or on a bestselling book list, although the scope of our goals differ the end result remains the same. We want our works out there for others to read.
How do you increase your productivity as a writer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!