1/ Make writing a high priority. Never jam writing time into your day. Jam your day into your writing time.
2/ Write while you’re fresh. Run errands when you’re flagging. Errands rarely require much brain power.
Remember, writing is High Priority. You don’t want a gravestone that says, ‘She ran countless errands.’
3/ Have a daily To Do list AND a daily Writing To Do list. Keep them separate.
4/ Construct your next Writing To Do list at the close of each writing session.
5/ Limit your Writing To Do list to five tasks. Any more than that and you’re setting yourself up for defeat. Avoid feeling defeated. Nurture yourself and praise yourself constantly. Every step forward is a victory.
Here’s an example of a Writing To Do list from my own Truly Tan schedule:
•Write 5oo words (ie move the story forward by 500 words)
•Revise chapter two (tweak dialogue, fix refs to Rose’s magical predictions, change Doodad’s outfit so it’s funnier, add more characters to the picnic scene)
•Research ballet steps, ferrets, cop cars, horse poo, when do peppercorn trees ‘flower’?
•Draw a mud map of Ted Murphy’s farm. Where’s the creek? How do they get to the next property?
•Review illustration suggestions for Claire. Picture research for Tan’s new cardigan.
Notice how the tasks get easier as the list progresses? Factor in brain fatigue when you compose your list. But always ALWAYS begin your list with Write 5oo words. (That’s 500 fresh words. Write more if you want. But resolve to be happy with 500 and praise yourself when you make it).
6/ Warm up! Re-enter your story by editing what you wrote the day before. Then write your daily quota.
7/ Don’t write every day. Take two days off every week. Unless you’d rather not…
8/ Allocate set times for admin and social media. Use a timer if you have to.
9/ Toss these tips. Don’t do any of this except write 500 words five days per week and you’ll be a Real Writer before you know it.
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