Monday, April 30, 2012
Don't Finish: Ways to be a More Productive Writer, Part 3
Being a productive writer isn't about doing everything right, but about finding the tips and tricks that work for you. Sometimes you need to do something that feels counter-intuitive, but it's just the shift in thought that shakes up your process and changes the way you work.
I started off with finding the right time and place to write. Last time was all about preparation. Today in my "Be a More Productive Writer" series, it's all about priming the pump.
Tip number three on being a more productive writer:
End your writing sessions in the middle of a sentence.
This little tip is from Hemingway. Not finishing that sentence might sound crazy, but if you end your writing session in the middle of a sentence or paragraph, you'll know what comes next when you start the next session. You'll eliminate that "where do I start?" feeling that's all too common when we sit down to work.
I've always been the type of writer who ended my writing day at the end of a scene or chapter. They're natural stopping points and left me with a feeling of accomplishment. "I got a scene done! Yay!"
Then I noticed when I started writing the next day, I had to come up with a starting line for the next scene (and we all know how tough those opening lines can be). I was spending a long time trying to get started again. Staring at that blank screen and re-reading a lot of the previous day's stuff just to get back into the work, which cut into my writing time.
On the days I didn't end at a scene break, but in the middle of something actively going on, I was able to jump right in and find my momentum. That "where do I start?" feeling was gone.
Now, sometimes you get to a scene end and you need to stop due to time (dinner, kids, work, etc), but instead of ending at that break, try writing just a paragraph or two of the next scene and stopping in the middle there. You get over that new scene hump and have primed the pump for the next writing session. (This works quite well with Tip #2, since you'll have a starting point in which to plan out the next scene)
This tip's challenge:
End your writing sessions during a scene when you know what happens next. Prepare your next session so you can jump right in.
As for last tip's challenge... Who did the prep work? Did it help make your writing sessions more productive? Were you more focused during your writing time?
The whole series: finding the right time and place to write, all about preparation, stopping in the middle, not re-reading too much of the previous session, leaving yourself notes, and how to avoid wasting time.