In this blog, we give you seven time saving tips for writers. Try these tips if you don’t have much spare time to write, or if you are on deadline.
Write Smarter, Write Faster
There are thousands of books and blogs on creativity and writing, but not many on how to manage your time.
Time stands between you and success.
While craft can help you build a brilliant short story, screenplay or novel, you will need time in the workshop to put it all together. And you will need a lot of time – more time than you realise.
We all live busy lives, whether we are full-time writers or hobbyists. So if you can carve out some extra time – why not?
7 Time Saving Tips For Writers
We’ve put together seven strategies to help you make the most of the time you spend at your writing desk.
Don’t Check And Correct As You Go
Don’t correct spelling and grammar in your first draft. If fact, don’t do it until you’re sure you’re ready to show it to someone.
If a construction crew was coming to remodel your home, would you dust, clean, and tidy up? Probably not. They will be breaking things, building things, making dust, and a mess.
It’s the same with writing. Many sentences, paragraphs and scenes will not make it to the final draft. You’ll waste time if you polish stuff that you may dump.
Don’t Circle Back To the Top
Similar to the first point, resist the temptation to re-read over work you’ve already completed. It’s a time trap.
Of course, changing a word or two here and there is fine. But when you’re compelled to re-write the opening paragraph five times or decide to change the heroine’s name and nationality – you will be in trouble.
Writing is about flow. Don’t interrupt that narrative energy by allowing the inner critic to come in and take over. Go forward. Focus on the next line, then the next, and the next.
Go Easy On The Research
Research is a Bermuda triangle for writers. You tell yourself you’ll just Google a suitable car for your hero – three hours later, you have twenty browser tabs open, and you’re ordering a book on classic cars on Amazon.
In your first draft, you need just enough detail to help you make the story seem authentic. If your book demands more research, schedule this time separately from writing.
Keep a notepad next to you as you write and jot down research points (example, ‘find out about untraceable poisons for Chapter 8’.)
Switch Off The Wi-Fi
The good thing about the internet is that it puts a world of information at our fingertips. The bad thing about it is that it puts a world of information at our fingertips.
Email and social media are the enemies. You will get a lot more words on the page if you’re not keeping one eye on your phone – checking your Twitter feed or liking your friend’s Instagram photo.
Writing is a solitary game. It can get lonely. Make a deal with yourself – ‘If I finish a draft of this story, I will treat myself to some time on Facebook.’
Spend A Few Minutes Planning
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.’ The expression is a bit threadbare, but it is still true.
Before you start writing, make an outline of your novel’s scene or chapter. If you find the approach too rigid, at least declare what you hope to get from that session of writing.
For example, you could write: ‘In the next hour, I want to write how Dean finds the burnt-out Jeep in the bush, the blood-soaked shirt and discovers the working radio.’
Schedule Your Writing Time
Following on from the point above, don’t only plan your creativity but also your productivity.
If you’re serious about meeting a deadline or finishing a project, you need to get strict with your time. For example, you could schedule an hour each evening and commit to writing a set number of words.
Even if you don’t meet your target or skip a writing session, you will start forming solid habits. A sense of discipline will also underscore your commitment.
Don’t Stop Once You Start
Once you’ve started writing, don’t stop. Think of your writing as a race, a dance, or swimming. All these activities require movement. They don’t require thinking.
Similarly, you must keep your hand moving. Trust your instinct and your voice.
The more you open the story on the page, the more space you allow for it to grow, to become real. Your characters, plot and setting will rush in to fill and illuminate these spaces. But first you must create the space.
The first few minutes of writing are always cold and dreadful. As you warm up, you will find a pace.
The Last Word
We all hope for more time. Try to use these time saving tips for writers. The blunt reality is that we won’t get it. ‘Either time serves us – or we serve time,’ as the old adage goes.
More Posts From Anthony:
- 11 Popular Sub-Genres In Fantasy Romance
- Write Your Synopsis Without Losing The Essence Of Your Story
- 12 Point Checklist For Your Story Goal
- 5 Myths To Break When Writing A Good Character
- 7 Types Of Narcissists To Use In Your Next Story
- The 5 Pillars Of Action-Adventure
- 5 Ways To Write About Stalkers
- 12 Months, 12 Inspiring Ideas For Writers