• Writing everything down in an agenda is the first step.
• Choose the hardest, or most distasteful thing to do first.
Like many writers I vow to get 500 words written in a day. This does not always happen but I’m working hard at making it an everyday occurrence. It is now in first position on my agenda. Keeping in mind that starting off the creative writing process is like trying to clear an 8 foot jump first thing in the morning before you’ve had any coffee or warm-up. The good news is once you’ve pole vaulted that, the rest of the jumps are only 2 foot tall and then it’s clear sailing and you can write non-stop for hours. It’s the getting started that is the hardest.
• After that come other big tasks.
Being a writer, these days, you must allow time for daily/weekly promotional work as well, like blog writing. It is sometimes a challenge to find ‘useful’ material to blog about, therefore blog research has also got to go into the agenda under promotional activities. And yes, this whole business IS a full time job.
• Then the other little time-wasting, grocery getting, errand running tasks round out the day.
When I finish each task completely, I cross it off and move on to the next thing. Saying ‘finished’ also takes some discipline.
If I have a day when I get stuck, I force my self to write anything about the subject I am writing. Even if it is “I am trying to write a character, female who lived in world war II. Where did she work? What did she do? Where did she live, and I would then answer those questions haphazardly, knowing it might all be garbage and thowoutable stuff. But quite often something clicks and I am off to the races on one of the questions or comments. Before I know it I have written my 500 words. What I’ve written may not all be usable. There may only be one or two good sentences there, but what I did write might spark another idea. I then have to file this somewhere on my computer.
Now that we are all on computers our propensity to collect junk and store it is so much greater. Keeping your computer’s contents organized can by tricky, especially if you are not a particularly well-organized person. Here’s my system:
I using a single file called ‘Writing’ in which I have numerous sub-files with the names of books/general writings/ideas. Under books I then sub-file for each like this:
• ‘garbage to keep’ (just in case)
• ‘recyclables’ (might be usable in another story/book.)
• ‘almost there’
• ‘finals’ (in the process of being edited)
• ‘submitted versions’.
The many versions I save of things can get confusing, so each must have a date as well. So for example for my children’s book series I will have a big folder with the name of the book. It may not be the final name but that can be changed later. Within the folder I will have various versions and perhaps a file for illustration ideas, a file for necessary research and a file for good ideas.
This way, at least I can find things fairly easily (just ask Cortana) and being organized on my computer frees up more time to get over that initial 6 ft. jump.