I try to carve a little time out of every day to work on my writing. Some days, I use the time getting actual words down, while other days I see to the business side of things. On really good days, I can do a little of everything.
A friend recently asked me how I spend my writing time, about the habits that help me finish a story.
When you’re writing a story, do you shoot for a daily word count and stop when you reach it, or do you just sit down and see where the work takes you?
As an easily distracted and unforgivably lazy husband, dad of three, homeowner, and full-time employee, time is my biggest constraint. Coupled with the fact that I’m a
careful slow writer who aspires gets lost trying to find just the right word or phrase, and that I tend to research follow rabbits down holes as I’m writing, I’ve had little success setting day- or session-based word count goals.
Typically, I’ll scrounge together whatever time I can manage: fifteen minutes standing at the kitchen counter, thirty to forty minutes during a lunch break or at night after everyone else has gone to bed, or—if I’m lucky—an hour or two on the rare quiet weekends my family can spare me for some focused time at a nearby coffee shop. The time comes in dribs and drabs, and I try to make the most of it when I can get it.
Usually I sit down to write with the aim of beginning or finishing a scene, doing some editing, or just getting a paragraph or two further along in the current work.
I typically set word count goals at the scene or story level—goals that serve more as guideposts than anything else. Ultimately, the story gets the words the story needs, and if I’m doing really well, no more or less than that.
Are you a goal setter or do you just strive to make the most of the time you get? Follow me on Facebook or join my Patrons and tell me about your favorite trick to get things across the finish line, what your creative or productive time looks like, or just ask whatever burning question you’d like!
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