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?
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Simulacrum, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns.
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