I’ve just finished the rough draft for my next book. My previous book was published last month in January. People often ask me how I managed to write this latest book and get it ready for publishing just three months after my previous book was published. Mostly, they’re pleasantly surprised and slightly impressed. Just don’t ask me what they say on Twitter about writers who are prolific. (Yes, I take it personally. No, I shouldn’t.) Anyway, whether you are like me and planning to publish several books this year or you just want to be more productive, here are a few tips that helped me get more writing done.
Neglect blog reading. I know we writers are supposed to support other writers by reading and sharing their blogs. This is, after all, the best way to gain blog followers. It’s also a huge time suck. It’s the first task I throw out the window when I’m busy.
Ignore Twitter. I’m sure every time management expert says the same thing – Ignore social media. It’s not that easy when you are an indie author. Social media is part of our brand. (Anyone else hate that word as much as me?) If you want to be productive, however, you need to learn how to ignore Twitter or at least learn to manage your time spent on the platform. Twitter is not my favorite platform and yet I can find myself being sucked in. When I’m on a strict schedule, I limit my “Twitter time” to five minutes in the morning, five minutes at lunch, and five minutes in the evening. That’s all. An app to schedule tweets is a lifesaver!
Put blogging on the back burner. My goal is to blog three times a week. One way I’ve been able to make this commitment is to have specific blogging topics for each day. Monday is for book reviews or other bookish things. Wednesday is about writing or marketing writing. Friday is expat day. Whenever I have a blog idea, I quickly jot it down in my phone. This information is transferred to a notebook of blog post ideas. Whenever I’m stuck, I grab my journal and scan ideas. Often, this works. If it doesn’t and I find myself staring at my computer for fifteen minutes with no idea, I move on. That’s right. I. Move. On. The world will not fall down upon me if I only blog once or twice a week.
Plot, plot, plot. Plan, plan, plan. Although I’ve always considered myself a plotter, I’ve come to the realization that my ‘plotting’ cannot actually be considering plotting. Jotting down a few pages of a rough outline a plotter does not make. I’ve now expanded my plotting and try to write down chapter ideas for ten chapters at a time. This way, I’m never at a loss on where to begin writing when I sit down on my computer. I’ve got my chapter outline.
Free writing. I write a chapter every single day I write. Once I’m done with the chapter, I practice a bit of ‘free writing’ for the following chapter. I don’t write for a preset time period or anything. I just jot down a paragraph or two at the start of the next chapter with ideas of how to proceed. When I sit down to write the next chapter, not only do I know the scene I want to write from my outline, but I’ve also got quite a few ideas on how to make that scene come to life.
That’s it! These are the techniques, which helped me to write my latest book Hide Not Seek in just over two months. Hope they help!