Discipline for Writers

Some writers are multi-taskers, working on multiple manuscripts simultaneously. Others, like myself, like to stay immersed and focused on one work in progress at a time. I’ve never been good at multi-tasking, preferring to start one task and finish it before starting another whether it is work or my daily chores. Either way, you can’t write a book in one day, so it can seem like a mammoth task unless you stay focused.

I take gaps of weeks between each manuscript. Some authors give a gap of one day only. Whatever works for you. The intense focus that writing a story requires, takes a toll on your health at times. Take a break until you’re ready to attack the blank page with high energy again.

I generally write every day when I am writing a book. If I miss out more than a day, I worry that I’ve lost my train of thought. In other words, I like to write it all out while my heart and mind are stuck in that book’s/character’s world. Still, other work, demanding cats and responsibilities can make writing impossible on some days. So how do I stay on track?

1) Even in days that I’m too tired to add word count or make edits on my manuscript, I do SOMETHING related to the WIP. For example, I might go through the remaining scenes on my index cards and make small changes or flesh them out a little more.

2) I don’t read books by other authors when I’m working on a first draft. Especially by those in my genre. I’m afraid of being influenced — my unique voice needs to stay unique.

3) I don’t discuss my story, plot, characters or anything else with even my closest author friends until I’m done writing the first draft. Too many opinions can affect your voice and writing, making you create something that isn’t really yours. Be you.

How do you keep focus, my fellow writers? 😃

 

2 thoughts on “Discipline for Writers

  1. Oh yes, I can’t work on multiple manuscripts. But I read books. Genre doesn’t matter. But I always read. Sometimes, the books that I’ve bought, sometimes review copies. I take short writing breaks, sometimes {even when I am working on my ms} but I don’t take reading breaks except those rare breaks when I read something so touching/delightful that the feeling lingers and I don’t want to read anything immediately after that.

    You have shared some valid, important points.

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