Monday, June 11, 2012

Five Ways to Prevent Hectivity (read: Hectic Activity) from Putting a Damper on Your Writing

There is a lot of change happening in my life lately. My oldest is graduating; the other three are getting out of school for the summer; my parents are moving to town (yay!); there are several new faces at work; this weekend we will have a wedding and a memorial service; and... I recently regained all rights to four of my books and decided to self-publish.

I'm sure many of you are facing similar busy seasons in your life. Sometimes it is easier just to bag writing for a time and say, "I'll get back to it later." But below are several tricks to help keep up productivity.

1. Keep your priorities straight. Make sure to spend a little time with God at the beginning of your writing day. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is amazing how much more work gets done when we take a little time to assess, ask for direction, analyze our life, and then press forward.

2. Be sure to eat healthy. If you are anything like me (I'm mostly a "food is fuel" person), you can be going through your day, get to 2pm and realize you have a screaming headache and then remember that you haven't yet taken the time to eat that day. Try to eat a good breakfast, and make yourself stop for a light lunch. It will help with productivity.

3. Author James Scott Bell first introduced me to the concept of the "fast 500." (That's what I call it, I can't remember his exact term for it.) You might have a ton of things pressing on your mind, but first things first. Hammer out 500 words on your manuscript before you launch into your tasks for the day. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, but if you make it a priority it will go a long ways to keeping up your productivity.

4. Dragon Naturally Speaking is your friend. If you spend a lot of time commuting, like I do, give some thought to DNS. When I have a commute where I'm going to be in the car alone, I will put on my DNS mic and "talk" my story. On my 25 minute commute, I can sometimes get 1,500 words written. Granted they are bad, and need a ton of editing because DNS isn't yet perfect at picking up every word I say, but it is a starting point for me to work from later.

5. Give yourself a break! If you have a day where you simply can't get to your writing, don't sweat it. But also, don't let failure to meet your writing goals one day discourage you from getting right back at it the next.

What about you? What tricks keep you writing amidst hectivity?
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