3 Ways to Carve More Freedom Into Your Writing Plan
“To enjoy freedom…we have to control ourselves.”
Virginia Woolf wrote this in an article titled “How Should One Read a Book”, which was published in The Common Reader in 1935. While her comment referred to reading books, later in the same article she says, “Perhaps the quickest way to understand the elements of what a novelist is doing is not to read, but to write; to make your own experiment with the dangers and difficulties of words.”
That’s still why one reason why authors write today, but there are so many others including, but not limited to pouring your feelings into fictional characters, for your own entertainment, or for profit. Whether you’re a veteran author with multiple titles and accolades under your belt or you’re in the throes of being a newbie, there’s one thing we all need which is more time to write.
Distractions fill every nook and cranny of our waking hours, conspiring to prevent us from making progress on our WIPs. In a world wrought with technology, however, there are as many solutions to finding times to write as there are interruptions. Here are some of our tried-and-true methods for carving more freedom into your writing schedule.
1. Set Aside Time to Write
Do you use Google Calendar or another scheduling app? Build time in your day to sit down and write! As you go through your day, make a note of slow times that you spend doing something else, like hanging out on social media, playing games like Candy Crush, or surfing through hundreds of cable channels or your Netflix queue.
Have you ever heard of writing sprints? According to Merriam-Webster, “A sprint is “to run or go at top speed especially for a short distance.“ A writing sprint is writing at top speed for a set amount of time. Whether you sprint alone or with other writers, you may be surprised at how much writing you can get done in a micro-amount of time!
The Pomodoro Method is a timer used to break tasks into intervals separated by short breaks, and it is quite useful when sprinting. Melissa Storm highly recommends using Tomato Timer (https://tomato-timer.com/) to alternate 25 minutes of writing with 5-minute breaks. She discusses this in more detail in the Quick Tips course in Your Author Engine. https://your-author-engine.teachable.com/p/the-quick-tip-engine
2. Eliminate Social Media Distractions
Turning off the television is a given. The same goes for the radio if it keeps you from writing. Ignoring social media, on the other hand, is a whole other monster. Alerts show up on your electronic devices even when you don’t have their webpages open.
If you use Google Chrome, go to the Chrome Web Store and search for “eradicator”. The results should include apps to eradicate the news feed on both Facebook and Twitter. Although you’ll still get notifications, without the news feed to scroll through you’ll have more time to focus on other things–like writing your book!
3. Establish Your Writing Zones
What author hasn’t dreamed of an in-home office where they can shut the door and spend hours upon hours alone with their WIP? Having a dedicated writing space in your home is no guarantee that you’ll add more words to the page. Thanks to technological advances, typewriters aren’t the only optional writing tool for modern writers, making it easier than ever to write from wherever you are.
Coffee shops are a frequent hangout for writers. The cacophonous din of background conversation becomes white noise, making it easy to zero in on whatever it is you’re writing. If you can’t make it out to a coffee shop, then make the coffee shop come to you with the Coffitivity app (https://coffitivity.com/). Available both online and on your cell phone, this handy tool recreates a cafe-like atmosphere to help boost your productivity.
Today’s writers are writing faster than ever thanks to dictation software. Google allows you to dictate straight into your document from the comfort of your computer–no special software or accessories required–and it’s surprisingly accurate. Barring that, you could dictate into an audio recording app on your phone, upload to the cloud as an MP3, and then you or someone you hire could transcribe the audio into a text document.
Do you have more tips for carving more freedom into your writing schedule? Comment below to share them with us!