Tips for maintaining momentum on your writing
So, you’re writing your book. There are so many people who say they want to write a book but few start and even less finish.
You’re already miles ahead of many millions who just talk or think about it. How can you make sure that you are in that group of motivated souls who finish and publish their book?
Maintaining momentum is key to get there. It is the small things we do everyday that make the biggest and most lasting differences to our lives.
Darren Hardy, author of ‘The Compound Effect’ says ‘It’s the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Success is earned in the moment to moment decisions that in themselves make no visible difference whatsoever, but the accumulated compounding effect is profound.’
Writing is the same. It is the writing you do every day that will get your book finished. Most of us don’t have the luxury to write in huge bursts, as former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis did for his book ‘Talking to my daughter about the economy’ sitting in a beautiful part of his country for nine days. That’s fantastic if you’ve got the option but for most of us that isn’t an option.
So, we’re back to having to write every day. Given that let’s look at some tips on how to maintain your momentum on what can be months of creating your masterpiece.
Tip 1: Write every day
I know I repeat this a LOT but there is no replacement for writing every single day. Just as we can get into a habit of writing daily, we can equally slip out of the habit.
Many writers I’ve met think that they can get away with bursts of writing irregularly, unless you have proven that by writing a book or meeting other writing deadlines consistently then, like the vast majority of us, you need to write every day.
Set yourself a goal – and stick to it. Whether your goal is a timeframe – 10 minutes, 1 hour or 3 hours a day – doesn’t matter. What does matter is to stick to it! You can choose a wordcount instead of a time related goal.
Tip 2: Find a time to write
We don’t all have the luxury of being able to write at a particular time of the day or night. However, there is little question that forming a routine is incredibly helpful. Your brain will get used to needing to write at 6am every morning or 10pm every night. You will very likely find that it makes it easier for to slip into the creative side of your brain when you need to.
It’s not a problem if it can’t be at the same time every day but it must be every day.
If you set a time related goal one suggestion that has worked for many writers is setting a timer and making yourself write for that time. For example, set your timer for twenty minutes and push yourself to write for that time frame as a minimum. Most writers will be so into the writing by then they won’t notice timer run out. If you do notice it run out then get up and leave it until the next day, but you will still have met your writing goal for the day.
Tip 3: Find a space to write
It doesn’t matter where you write – most writers use their dining table. Don’t let not having a writing room be a reason to procrastinate.
People write on their commute – plane, train or automobile (tram or bus as well). Whether you write in a park on a bench, in a café on a table or at home doesn’t matter, just that you have a space to write, every day.
Tips 2 and 3 are incredibly important. If you have a space and a time set aside then you won’t waste writing time deciding where to go and when. Even five minutes working it out every day adds up to more than 30 hours over a year. It can also increase the chances of getting distracted while you decide where to write and win.
Tip 4: Get everything down on paper
Always take a notebook and pen with you or use your phone if you need to. Some of those ideas we have in the middle of the night are rubbish, but some are not. Some of the ideas we have on the bus on the way to work are unworkable, but some are not. Get everything down on paper to ensure you don’t lose it – just in case there is some genius in there.
Many of our best ideas come to us at the oddest times – when our brains are operating automatically – when we are in the shower, washing the dishes or even getting dressed for work.
Some of those ideas rely on our brain’s downtimes to be heard, so make sure you listen to them. If they are not great ideas editing will sort that out but its those creative pieces of genius that can make your book stand out from its competition.
Tip 5: Stimulate the creative side of your brain
Writing a book can be great fun, especially once you are in your creative flow. However, writing can also be tiring. If you are writing and working, which most of us are, your brain can be tired.
Take some time out to regenerate your brain. The chances are that you already have some strategies to ease your weary brain. One thing that EVERY writer must do is to read. If reading isn’t easy for you, then consider audible books. Reading and absorbing other writers’ works will stimulate your creative juices.
Stephen King says, ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.’
I have never heard any writer or writing coach who doesn’t agree 100 percent with this. There’s a reason for that – Stephen is right!
Other things that might stimulate your creative juices are music, spending some time in a quiet space and journaling. Journaling is fantastic for clearing your head so that you can concentrate on writing.
In the end – Yoda’s quote is probably the most apt ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’
So, running with that theme, may the force be with you.