Time Based, not Task Based Writing

Progress in the creative space is hard to measure. Is two weeks researching one small detail a good use of time? Who knows. One way to manage this is to set a timeframe to complete the work in, and aim to get it all done in that time. Set a span of one year for a novel, for instance.

Now you have a framework within which to apportion time. Also, if you set a task based activity (like finish Chapter 2 today) you are likely to be disappointed quite often.

But if you set the task ‘Write for one hour today’ then you can’t fail – as long as you work for that hour! You’ll be surprised how much you can get done working in this way I think…  

Work over Longer Periods 

Time to stop thinking in months. Writing takes years, very often. Especially at first. If you’ve written ten TV pilots, you can probably knock one out fairly quickly. But if you want to have your first book published, it might be good to set a five year goal.

Write the first draft in a year or two, then seek allies and mentors to help you rewrite, then start approaching publishers and agents! And try to get it all done in 5 years. 

Co-Write

If you’re exhausted, spiritually and creatively, and can’t drag yourself to the desk again, try co-writing. Make sure you trust your partner 100% (don’t have any doubts and back away if you do) and try to make sure they are at least as motivated as you.

And from personal experience, try to work with people who have done the thing you are attempting together before.

If Writing at Home isn’t Working 

Get a desk away from home. Library, cafe etc. There’s any number of reasons why writing at home might be working out for you. Lots of prominent authors like JK Rowling and Donna Tartt write in cafes and libraries for many reasons. Eavesdropping. Donna Tartt says if she ever needs a character she just looks up in the library and there they are! 

No Distractions

Once you’re at your desk, shut down social media. Mute the phone. Lock the door. Set a timer on your phone for an hour and half and enter a state of uninterrupted creative meditation. Now work! 

Get up Early

If everything else fails … go to bed early and get up early. Nothing ever gets done after 6pm, except by high school and university students, and you’re not one of those anymore are you? Except you. No not you. Nothing good ever happens after midnight, but that’s for other reasons.

Try getting up two hours before everyone else, and writing them. Total quiet, no distractions. You are the early bird. You are the hardest worker in the room. Be The Rock.