Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Tips on Being Productive

I'm closing the gap on completing my 80th book. I didn't choose to become a 'real' writer until my first novel was contracted in 2007. Before then, I had the sum total of 3 books finished. And I didn't retire from teaching until this past June of 2014 become a 'full time' writer.

So the most often asked question I get, mostly from other authors, is how did I do it? How did I fit in writing, between being a mother, wife, grandmother, and Kindergarten teacher?

Oh, yeah, I've hit brick walls. I've had weeks and months of not being able to put any words to paper. But I learned some very important tricks to help me avoid or crawl over those pitfalls. Here's what I've found that has helped me remain productive.

1. I don't start a new book until I know where it's going.  My biggest hurdles come when I want to write a story, but have abso-frigging-lutely no idea where it's going, or how it's going to get there. All I may have is a title, or a picture I found on the internet. But once I conceive the main conflict and resolution, it's a go!

2. Diversion is necessary. I don't feel guilty about checking out Tumblr, or Pinterest, or Facebook while I'm parked in the chair. But neither do I spend a lot of time there. The brain needs a break every now and then. Which is why it's critical that I...

3. Get out of the chair every so often. I wash dishes. I do laundry. I walk the dog. I do some minor clean-up (or major, depending on the state of the house). It's amazing how, by focusing on the mundane, it's allowed me to meditate on my book.

4. I keep a notebook with names, ideas, descriptions, scenarios, possible outlines, etc. That way I don't accidentally rename the hero/ine, or fudge up any other main component of the story. This becomes crucial in the event I want to do a sequel.

5. Edit before continuing. To get my mind back into the frame of the story, I edit what I've written previously. Not only does this get me mentally reconnected, but acts as impetus. I write cold turkey on a story. Even if I'm just beginning to start a new one, I read over my notes prior, to get a handle on what I want to do.

These are a few tip and tricks I use. Please share yours!

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