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By The Bookshelf Muse
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How Much Time Do You Waste as a Writer?

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It’s a touchy topic, I know.

On one hand, we may putter a bit as a way into our writing–a ritual of getting supplies together, pouring a cup of coffee, and putting a few cookies on standby. But, on the other, after we do those things, how many of us think, Oh I forgot to send that email. And so we head to the inbox. We send our message, but as we do, see another about a friend’s new book. So, we zip to Goodreads and add it to our shelf.

You know where this is going. Goodreads leads to Facebook, which leads to Instagram and Tiktok, and boom, an hour’s gone. Maybe more.

Another thing that chews up writing time is the research and brainstorming we need to do. There’s always things to look into to write our story, do our marketing, and more.

Finally there’s the time we waste trying to locate our story planning materials – characters bios, timelines, notes about the plot, worldbuilding information, and everything else. These things may be scattered in notebooks, on hard drives, post-its, etc. and every time we need to look something up, it pulls us away from our writing. By the time we find it, we’ve might have lost track of what we had planned to say.

So…how do we get that time back?

Procrastinate…with a timer. If you know it’s your habit to check a few things before you start writing, then give in to it, but set a timer on your phone to limit how long you spend surfing social and handling email.

Schedule time for non-writing tasks.Story planning, researching information to help us write and market, connecting with people on social media, and yes, answering email – it all needs to be done. But if we organize ourselves better, and create designated times for those bits of work, we protect our sit-down-and-write sessions.

Organize our story materials in the same place. It’s true, we can be like birds, storing shiny bits and bobs for our story all over. This happens because as we’re planning, we’re not always in the same place. Sometimes we’re at the computer and things go into a file, other times, ideas hit in the car and we jot down notes on our phone or on the back of a receipt.

Keeping things together means we always know where to go when we need to check something about a character, scan our outline, or remind ourselves of certain story details. Being able to find the information we need quickly is key to getting back to writing and more words each session.

If you’re looking for a way to organize all your story items, check out One Stop for Writers. We just revamped our dashboard, the Workspace. You can create everything for your story there, store it, and when you need to look something up, it auto-sorts everything for you. (Don’t you wish someone would create a button to sort out your actual desk? I do!)

Check it out:

Finally, if you’re procrastinating too often, ask yourself why. Often the reason we fall into a distraction hole is because we’re struggling with the story. When the writing gets hard, motivation drains away and we’d rather get lost in the internet than face a nasty knot in our manuscript.

Problems don’t fix themselves, so we need to identify what’s wrong so we can find a solution. Going back to our story materials can help us. We may need to raise the stakes, give a character more depth, or add a scene. Maybe we need to go in a new direction. TIP: The Storyteller’s Roadmap has a Code Red section to help you fix the most common story problems.

How do you make sure procrastination and a lack of organization doesn’t derail your writing? Leave your tips in the comments – I’d love to hear them!

The post How Much Time Do You Waste as a Writer? appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®.

The Bookshelf Muse is a hub for writers, educators and anyone with a love for the written word. Featuring Thesaurus Collections that encourage stronger descriptive skills, this award-winning blog will help writers hone their craft and take their writing to the next level.


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