Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Methods, Time Management, and Breaking the Monotony

As with a lot of people these days, finding the time to write can often be a daunting task. Whether it’s working on the current WIP, that slutty new novel (SNN), or maintaining a persona within the social media platform, there are a thousand activities that want to dig their claws into our author shoulders and drag us out of our chairs to do anything but write. The devil on our shoulders that whispers in our ears, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”  is a particularly influential presence in my life specifically and it’s a constant struggle not to give in to his seductive whisperings. At the end of the day, however, we all need to find our own individual methodologies for kicking that devil back to hell where he came from, putting our butts in the chair, and writing the books that will change our lives forever.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different methods of writing, trying to find the one that suited me best. I’ve tried being a strictly linear writer (writing the book where each chapter is exactly in order), a not so linear writer (writing scenes and chapters out of order according to what inspiration hits me), and I’ve tried just staring at the blinking cursor, praying the words would just write themselves. Surprisingly, the latter method never worked. Oh, if only writing was that easy. Anyone who has ever tried writing a book knows that writing is anything but. However, writing can be Easier if you find the method that suits you best and that method is entirely personal and dependent upon our individual writing styles.

 I can now say without hesitation that my method has finally been found. Thanks to the much appreciated guidance of my good friend Jennifer Hendren, I discovered my method to be something that is decidedly…simple. All I needed was a particular software that would force me to focus and boost my initiative. That’s right everyone, step right up! Come one, come all to witness the wonder that is Focus Booster!  Seriously, if you’re a writer like me who struggles to maintain focus and get the words on the page, the simple act of having  timed, 25 minute sessions, has been my Godsend. It has been a simple change that has had a huge impact on my productivity. It’s not uncommon now for me to get at least 3000 words a day, using this method. The secret is not just the structured time management, it’s also takes the many distractions that keep us from writing and turns the table, turning writing into the distraction instead. (The best part being that the software is FREE. Yay!)

And if the idea of being constrained to 25 minute sessions seems repetitive or monotonous, there are scheduled breaks between the sessions that give just enough time to grab a quick stretch,  rest your eyes, and give your mind the opportunity to reflect upon the brilliance it just created—okay, so that last one is probably not very realistic considering my brain is constantly telling me how much my writing sucks, but you get the general idea. My point is that you don’t have to do more than one session at a time. Do what feels comfortable to you, do your best with the time your life allows, and when you come back to do a session, the world outside will melt away until all that’s left is those 25 minutes, your laptop, and the words flowing out of your finger tips.
Granted, there is a chance this method won't work for everyone because, like I said, choosing a method for writing is very individualized, but I can testify that it works for me and I find myself feeling more excited about writing now than I ever have before. I'm looking forward to the upcoming weeks. At the rate I'm going now, I should have a relatively complete first draft finished in no time.
On a final note, thanks to the SCBWI, I also have the extra inspiration to write in the form of beautiful men...Mmmm. Chris Hemsworth. *drools* If the Avengers say it, it must be true, right?

Happy writing, all!!!

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