I’ve written quite a bit about making your writing time work for you. Posts like this, this, this, and this all illustrate the variety of ways in which you can carve more time for writing out of your day.
But not all time is created equal, and in our increasingly distracted lives, sometimes creating better writing time can do more for your writing than just increasing the amount of time you’re writing:
#1. Deep Work:
I’ve been reading quite a bit of non-fiction lately (something I’ll discuss more in an upcoming blog), but I read Cal Newport’s excellent book, ‘Deep Work’, about how we are increasingly losing our ability to focus on subjects. Newport suggests that the ability to focus on the task at hand will become more and more valued as our collective attentions fracture. Newport gives several tips and tricks to retrain oneself to focus, and I’ve started implementing them, including limiting my social media, and spending more time reading. I’ve also found his advice for re-adjusting your thinking during ‘in-between’ moments to work you need to think about, to be highly effective brainstorming. The more I use this re-adjusting technique, the more I’ve found myself able to focus and hone my mind.
I have found this incredibly useful not only as I switch between work time and personal time, but also as I switch between different kinds of work. For example, after I finish writing this blog post, I will be switching to one of my serialized fictional stories on Wattpad. These are both writing projects, but markedly different kinds of writing. Thus, they require a transition. A transition can really take any form, but I find it most useful to get up and away from my workspace, close my eyes for a minute or two, breathe deeply, and think about how I want to go about my next task. This has been remarkably effective in keeping my energy up, and my motivation going!
I’ve written before about how I like to ‘stew‘ in my stories, and I’m finding that the more time I spend thinking through my story, the easier my writing is later. Though, like many writers, I am neither completely a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’, I am finding that deliberate thought and concerted brainstorming sessions help my writing flow. Equally important, this ‘think-time’ that I now schedule helps me come up with more creative and complex ideas – this is particularly important when I am world-building, and inventing systems of magic!
How else can you carve better writing time out of your day? Tell me in the comments below!
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