"You are your only limit." - Author Unknown
Here are some of my tips:
- Plot your books out. This will not only save you time, but it will also create a more well-rounded story. If you’re looking for a book to learn how to plot, this is my FAVORITE one: Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker
- Use the Pomodoro technique when writing. I set a timer on my iPhone for 25 minutes and dictate my plotted story. This keeps me focused and it’s fun to see how many words you can get to in 25 minutes. After your timer goes off give yourself 5 minutes to stretch or unfocus your mind. Then start again. ** I now use an app on my mac called Howler Timer. It’s free and sounds like a wolf howling when your time is up.
- Track your writing sessions. I create a spreadsheet with the day of the week and date, target goal, start time, end time, words for that session, and then a running tally of words for that day. If you want to see what I’m talking about pop over to my Instagram and look through my images until you find one. ** I started using an add-on for Google Docs (which is what I write in because it saves after EVERY SINGLE CHANGE and is accessible offline as well as instantly from any device where you can log into your Gmail account.) called Track My Words. You can search for it in Google add-ons.
- Shut down your work each day as though it were an out of home office you were leaving from. For me, I shut down my business at 5 in the evening. I don’t check my FB or any social media. I don’t check emails. I log off for the night. I know this job is on ALL THE TIME because it’s internet-based, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. This business will run just fine without out trying to keep a firm grip on your social media or repeatedly checking your email. Others shut down their salons or bookstores (whatever it may be) at 5 or so in the evening and they survive. You will too. I’m always saying that we as a society are too often addicted to being distracted from our daily lives. Social media is the addiction. Also, give yourself one (even better two!) days off of social media and email per week. Unplug. Relax. It will all be there when you get back. Not only do I shut down my office at 5pm every evening, I also take 1-2 solid days off per week, AND we go on a week-long vacation every summer where I completely unplug from everything for the entire time. I don’t even bring my kindle…only paperbacks!
- Dictate your stories. Not only does this save your hands/fingers/wrists but it also saves you time. You can talk faster than you can type. I went from 2k words per day to 5k. I could do more, but I know myself enough to know that 5k is my sweet spot. It makes me feel good and my brain doesn’t feel squishy and stressed. Find your sweet spot, but try out dictation to get there. You might enjoy it. ** I recently downloaded the Google Docs app on my phone and now prefer to pace the length of my office while talking to my phone using the little microphone built into the app. I have my computer on and the same doc open so as I walk by my desk I can see the words typing across the screen while I talk AND get some steps in. This saves my hands and allows me to move more in my day. I also use THIS STEP TRACKER (it’s $15) to count my steps daily. Bonus: it has a sedentary timer built in you can set for whatever length of time you choose (I have mine set to go off every 40min) which means it vibrates if you’ve been sitting for that length of time and reminds you to get off your butt and move around.
- If you’re editing or prefer to type instead of dictating your stories, adjust the background page color of your document to a pale yellow. It makes the black words stand out more without straining your eyes. It has helped me avoid headaches during deadlines. If you’re a nighttime writer you can also use THIS DOWNLOAD to warm your screen up and avoid blue light issues.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful in some way!