My 6 Step Writing Session Process19:00
This week, it’s been a real struggle for me to find focus during my writing sessions. I mentioned in my post on Wednesday that I’ve had to go back and drastically change the beginning of Snow because of problems with the inciting incident, which has several drained my enthusiasm for editing. So I’ve had to work hard to make sure I’m putting enough effort into my writing sessions and getting the most out of the time I have. Of course, writing processes are ever evolving things, but today I thought I’d share what’s working for me at the moment.
Step 1: Be Comfortable
Before I settle in for a writing session, I generally make sure I’m as comfortable as possible. That means I’ve had a drink, I’ve taken a bathroom break, I’m warm or cool enough, and I’ve got settled nicely in my writing space. The more comfortable I am, the less excuses I can make to interrupt my writing session later on.
Step 2: Close Non-Essential Tabs
After I’ve made sure I’m comfortable, I prepare my computer for my writing session by closing every non-essential or distracting tab in my browser. That means Facebook, Pinterest, and every other tab I don’t desperately need has to be closed before I begin. This tells my brain it’s time to work, and also makes it harder to procrastinate on social media by adding another step to getting into my feed.
Step 3: Cue The Music
Great music has always been a big part of my writing routine, and right now, it’s pretty much invaluable to me. At the moment, I either listen to the Skyrim soundtrack, (you can see my favourite pieces from that HERE), or to the album Miracles by Two Steps From Hell. These albums are ones that allow me to concentrate while listening, and also get my brain instantly in the right place to start thinking creatively.
Step 4: Full Screen That MS
Whether I’m writing in Word or using Scrivener, I need to have my manuscript as the only thing on screen. Having multiple windows up at the same time only distracts my already squirrel-like brain, which instantly wants to dash between multiple things. One thing I especially love about working in Scrivener actually, is the ability to full screen the document so that the words and a plain black background (my preference) are the only things I can see. I can’t even see the toolbar at the bottom of the screen this way, which forces me to focus on my work.
Step 5: Hold Fast At The Ten Minute Mark
The ten minute mark is the most vulnerable moment of a writing session for me. I’ve made a start on my writing, and maybe I’ve even made a god bit of progress. And now I want a social media break. But even a quick jump on social media pulls me out of my creative space though, and makes it that much harder to focus when I get back, if I get back. Pushing through the temptation at the ten minute mark gives me a much greater chance of getting right into the zone, which is such an awesome place to be.
Step 6: Set Goals
I always have a time goal for my writing sessions. I’ll write to the top of the hour, or for a set amount of minutes. But I also have a MS goal too. It might be to edit one scene, reach the end of the chapter, or fix some specific problem. A lot of the time, my MS based goal isn’t done by the time my time goal is finished. But by that point, I’m often focused enough that I’ll keep going until I’ve achieved the other goal too. And if I don’t, I’ve still got a fair chunk of work done, which is great too.
So this is how I’m making the most of my writing sessions. But I’m interested to know, what does your process look like? What do you do differently to me? Music? No music? Regular breaks, or long stretches of uninterrupted writing? Let me know in the comments!