So you’ve been sitting at your computer screen for two hours and haven’t typed one “written” word, yet you’ve managed to scroll through your facebook timeline, like several pictures and type at least three comments on various statuses. You’ve actually been productive –on facebook that is– so the ability and effort is there. Now its time to channel those efforts onto your writing project, here’s how.
Stop answering your cell phone
Ah, this is one of my biggest weaknesses. I receive a phone call from a person that I’ve been looking forward to talking with, and next thing I know, its two hours later and I haven’t typed a word. This has happened to me more times than I care to remember, so I urge you Mr. or Ms. Aspiring Writing Professional to ignore your cell phone. Oh, and no texting either. That’s an even bigger time-suck. Instead, update your voice mail greeting with something to the effect of “Hi, you have reached (your name). Today I will be unavailable from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm tending to business matters. My open phone hours are from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Again, I urge you to call back between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. If this is regarding an urgent matter, please leave your name, phone number and a brief message regarding the nature of your call and I will call you as soon as time permits.”
Close the facebook window
Facebook is a time suck for writers. You can certainly make the argument that social networks such as Facebook and twitter are vehicles for promoting your writing. While I won’t argue against that point, in most instances, writers log on with the intent to promote their writing, but end up commenting on family pictures and sharing their latest opinions on the topic of the day, week or month. As a result, those writers get far less writing done than they would if they spent less time on social networks. Get off Facebook, log out of twitter and step away from snapchat. Those sites are doing more harm for your writing than good. What’s the use of promoting your writing on those websites when you don’t have much writing to promote?
Set clear writing goals
Goal setting is more than just saying “I want to get x amount of writing done today.” Your goal must be more concise than that. In other words, your goal should reflect more of a process than a statement. For instance, my goal for this semester is to write 16 articles per week. I will arrive to that goal by setting aside one hour per day, between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm and I will write one 400 word article every work and school day, and then I will write 6 articles per day on the two days that I have off from work and school. At the end of this semester, I will have 196 articles written. In other words, you must state your primary goal, how you will get there and your expected end result. This will reinforce the process by which you’re going to arrive to your goal.