From Dave Farland:
Sometimes when people look at a writer who produces a lot, they make exclamations like, “Wow, how do you get so much done? You’re amazing! How did you get to be so prolific?”
Of course, as a writer, I don’t feel prolific, especially lately. I never think of myself in those terms. I do think about how to be more productive—almost every day.
. . . .
A few years ago, I was in a car with Kevin J. Anderson, a writer who is more prolific than I am, and we passed a corner where literally hundreds of young people were loitering. They weren’t going anywhere. It was merely thousands of young people just watching cars cruise the strip. We looked at one another, and Kevin was the first to break. “How can they waste their lives like this?”
No idea. But I do know that many people who want to be writers spend too much time watching old television episodes or movies that they’ve seen ten times before. They waste hours on Facebook, or play videogames. They sit around talking. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for enjoying life, but for me a big part of that joy comes from my art.
So here’s how you start:
1) Work through the heat of the day. While others are whining or trying to figure out how to “get more comfortable” or flirting or dreaming of glory or griping about the weather or watching television or getting together for parties, keep working. Don’t look up to see what they’re doing. Focus. Make writing your #1 goal.
2) Study other productive writers. Find out how they do it. What are their working habits? Seriously, do you need to take a typing class? If you could type 30% faster, would you get more accomplished? If you could read faster, could you study more effectively? If you bought a new chair, could you work for half an hour longer per day? Should you be setting different types of writing goals? For example, would it help you to say, “Instead of writing for one hour before I take a break, I’m going to write a chapter”? (I find that it is hard to “get on a roll” with my writing, but once I’m on it, it’s easy to stay on.) What about your computer and its software—is it optimized for the job?
3) Look for time to write. Could you spend your time in the shower in the morning thinking about your novel, so that by the time you got groomed, you were ready to write? Or would it help to brainstorm a few minutes as you prepare to fall asleep? Can you eat a smaller breakfast, so that you don’t feel tired mid-morning? Can you take your computer on the subway and write on your way to work, or write during your lunch break? In other words, see if you can discover hidden moments to write.
4) Take advantage of your own gifts. As a writer, you may have some unique talents. Some writers are great at tuning out the sounds of people talking, so that they can write well when waiting at restaurants. Others might get by on very little sleep, so that they can write in the quiet hours of the night. Discover your own strengths.
Link to the rest at David Farland