As a full-time freelance writer as well as a fiction writer, I spend my entire day in front of the computer. That's a ton of time that I could be spending on social media or playing Candy Crush.
Every single moment, I have to make a conscious effort to keep focused on the task at hand. I'm not always passionate about the topics I write for my day job, so it can be hard to focus on writing. While these ideas may not work for you, I'm sharing what works for me.
While I use these for writing a bajillion words a day, you might find them useful for writing or keeping yourself on task at work. I gift these ideas to you. Use them as you see fit! Plus, they're not original concepts. Basically, it comes down to making the choice to write.
If you feel like you never have time to get your writing done, jot down all the time you spend on social media or in front of the television. That accounts for hours and hours that could be applied to writing your next novel.
Figure out when you're at your most creative or most productive. I can separate my work writing, or freelancing, from my passion writing. One requires more concentration than the other. I'll give you two guesses on which is the most effortless.
The writing that takes the most creativity from me is the one I love, and it's easier to stay focused when I'm immersed in the fiction world. Oh, it's not always walks on a deserted beach, but it's less mind-numbing so I save that writing for the end of the day. I'm most productive in the morning with a clear head and a cup of coffee. That's when the freelancing gets the most attention.
Take the time to really think about when you're in the zone. If you write better in the morning, make the time to concentrate on writing for a half hour or 40 minutes. Night owls should stay up and write when they're focused.
Write Every Day
Even when you don't feel like writing, you need to park your butt in the chair. On an average day, I write approximately 5,000 – 6,000 words when I freelance. It could be writing assignments or my other work projects, but the total is in that ballpark.
I'm mentally exhausted after all those words, but it's vital that I sit down and do the writing that inspires me. Some days, I'd rather curl in bed and watch Sherlock for the 12th time. I've found that if I skip days, it's harder to get back into the project. I'm not perfect, and there are projects sitting on my hard drive that I let slip to the back of my mind, but I don't wait for inspiration to hit me.
Even if I sit there for fifteen minutes and barely immerse my tired brain in the world I'm creating, it keeps that world fresh. The next day, I'll write more. When it becomes a schedule, you're more apt to stick with it.
Record the Progress
At heart, I'm a gamer. I love achievements and leveling, so recording my progress and making charts is huge for my focus on writing as well as productivity. Any time I've done NaNoWriMo and succeeded, it's because there's been a pretty chart.
In my freelancing, I use spreadsheets to track my assignments as well as the amount of money I can expect each week.
You need a way to SEE the progress. This can be done in whatever way you choose. I once tried to journal my way to a novel. I created my own bullet journal with graph paper and string, but found out that I liked creating it more than keeping track with it each day.
Use a system that works for you, but find a system you'll follow to track your progress.
Leave Distractions Behind
In the morning when I wake up, I grab some coffee, check my email, and things like my Amazon sales, but after ten minutes, I'm ready to work. I know myself, and if I get caught in the swirl of Facebook posts and fall down the rabbit hole of cute dogs, I'll lose all my ambition. Did I mention that I'm not perfect? I know how I operate if I'm not strict with myself. I'll spend four hours watching cats falling into water.
Before noon each day, it's work time. I'm as strict as I can be with myself as well as family. They don't love it, but when they're crying to borrow money, they'll love it even less when I'm broke.
Take Time Off
While some writers recommend taking some time off from writing, I don't know that I would. That doesn't seem to work for me. If I take a day off, I'll lose motivation. Instead, I take breaks throughout the day. I'll write for 45 minutes to an hour then take fifteen or twenty minutes to stretch, grab more coffee, or check email. I make sure to be extremely strict with myself. I falter sometimes! I'll look up and find that half an hour has gone past, but when that happens, I shut it all down and start writing again.
This is another situation where you'll have to learn how you work best. Take a day or two to try more than one method.
It's important that you try to eliminate the time sucks that are the most distracting. Don't spend hours on social media scrolling cat videos or reading about the latest on celebrity gossip. Avoid clicking out of your chosen writing program until you've written a minimum amount of words. Promise yourself 500 a day, or even 200 words. Stick to those goals as much as you can.