It’s the time of year for goal setting and making resolutions. See mine here!
But when it comes to the next twelve months, how do we stay on track? How do we make sure we achieve our writing goals and are punching the air in triumph on December 31st?
Here are my top five tools for exactly that:
1. Schedule your time!
It’s not enough to say ‘I will write for an hour every day’ you need to put that hour in your diary. I use a paper diary (an organiser from Paperchase) but you can use Google Calendar or your favourite app. Whatever you are comfortable with and, ideally, already use for your other important appointments.
If you don’t already use it (or have tried it in the past and found it overwhelming), I recommend you give Scrivener another try. It really is brilliant for organising novels and long non-fiction projects and, even if you use it the most basic manner (as I do!) it is worth it for the project-targets and ‘writing-only’ screen modes.
Speaking as someone who tried – and failed – in her first few attempts at using Scrivener, I recommend getting a book as a guide. I used Writing A Novel With Scrivener by David Hewson but Scrivener Essentials: A Quick-Start Visual Guide (recommended by my lovely dad) is even better – especially for visual learners. It comes in both a Mac and PC version, too, so it matches the version of the software exactly.
3. Eliminate distractions
Switch off the internet (or certain sites such as Twitter and Facebook) for set periods of time using this brilliant, free Chrome add-on – StayFocusd. Freedom is also good (although it isn’t free, there is a 60-day money-back guarantee).
I’ve recommended these apps on the podcast before but they really do help. Another tip is to try wearing noise-cancelling headphones (with or without music/nature sounds).
4. Reward Yourself Regularly
Stickers are brilliant as small rewards (especially for the stationery-obsessed) but small breaks to check email/Twitter or read a book, put on a song and dance around the room, have a cup of tea or some food (maybe go for something healthy, at least some of the time!), are all good, too.
5. Find Your Tribe
Find a community of like-minded writers by checking Facebook groups, writing forums, or local groups. Reading writing websites and books and listening to podcasts can help, too; anything which makes you feel less alone/bonkers for pursuing the often-frustrating, devilishly-difficult skill of writing!
Hope those tips are helpful!
Do let me know in the comments and feel free to share tips of your own.
Struggle with procrastination? Like productivity tips? Perhaps you might be interested in more… I’m writing a whole book on the subject: CLICK HERE to be notified when it’s out!