Time is a luxury for writers, so when you sit down to make progress on your latest writing project it’s important that your writing sessions are as efficient as possible. You don’t want to waste time thinking about what to write or how to write!
So, how do you do it? A good writing session plan and some focus are essential.
These are the most important things you can do to establish sustainable and effective writing sessions. Let's get into it!
What is a writing session?
A writing session is a set amount of time to write rather than research and plan. During this time, you will work on your word, page, and chapter goals.
Starting a writing session is often the hardest part, but once you know how to correctly structure them they will become a familiar writing habit that you do naturally.
They provide the perfect opportunity to make good progress on your current project, organize your thoughts and greatly improve the end result. It's a vital part of an author's life.
How does a good writing session benefit authors?
There are plenty of benefits to setting aside time specifically for writing. Here are some of them:
We all want to write in the most efficient way possible, right? Well, creating a dedicated session for writing is one way to increase the amount of writing you do.
This is because you’re focusing your mind on achieving certain tasks during the allocated time, meaning you’re much more likely to tick more off your to-do list.
Improved quality of work
The best way to make your writing better is by doing it regularly. Writing sessions give you the chance to do just that.
You can reflect on your own work and learn from others if scheduling your session as part of a group.
Reach your goals with ease
Unless you set time aside to achieve your writing goals, they will sit on your to-do list for a long time (maybe even forever).
With dedicated time for your writing, you will make regular progress until you meet your goal. Now on to the next one!
Consistency will make your writing project more professional. Once you have committed yourself to sit down and write at a set time for a few weeks it will become a habit, and you will do it without even thinking.
The result? A perfectly polished novel, article, or poem that is ready to be published.
It can be challenging to feel motivated when writing for long periods of time or for a large project such as a novel.
When you have a set time for writing, you’re forcing yourself to meet your goals even when you don’t feel like it. Writing sessions give us a reason to write, preventing us from falling behind.
10 tips to make your next writing sessions a success
If you want to achieve an ultra-productive session of writing (whether it’s for 15 minutes or two hours), there are some must-follow steps to be aware of.
Each of the suggestions below will help you write to the best of your ability in the least amount of time.
1. Get rid of all distractions and clear other commitments
Ok, so this may sound like an obvious place to start, but writing demands focus and some hard thinking. You can’t do it well with distractions.
What distracts you from writing?
Is it social media or thinking about your next snack? Do your pets like to take a nap on your lap whilst you’re at your desk?
People get distracted by different things, so it’s important to work out what stops you from being productive first.
How to avoid feeling distracted
Here are some great tips to try and reduce the number of distractions around you.
- Put your phone in a different room so you won’t check it
- Take regular comfort breaks
- Wear smart/casual clothes that you would wear if you were working in an office. This can put you in work mode.
- Invest in sound-blocking headphones
- Keep a clear workspace – no books or magazines should be within touching distance!
During your dedicated writing session, you shouldn’t have any other commitments scheduled, such as taking the dog for a walk or popping into the shops. These should be done another time.
2. Prepare smartly
Being prepared will make you a more productive and effective writer – fact.
Simply turning on your laptop, ensuring there are no updates needed, and making sure it is fully charged before your scheduled session will prevent delays and distractions.
Open up your documents before your writing session, too, to save precious writing time later on.
Healthy snacks and drinks should be within easy reach to boost productivity and morale. Having them on your desk will also stop you from taking unnecessary trips to the kitchen!
3. Choose the right writing environment
Where we write can make a big difference to what we write and the quality of the words we produce.
There isn’t a right or wrong place to write, it’s just important that you work somewhere that you are comfortable, happy and find it easy to concentrate.
You may find the hustle and bustle and smells of a coffee shop spur you on, or you may prefer to sit at your dining room table and face your backyard.
Try different areas in your home and outside until you find a place that works for you. You may be surprised where you end up writing!
Some writers change their writing environment depending on which stage of the writing process they are at.
For example, you may draft in Starbucks but move to your calming home office to tackle revisions. Do whatever works for you.
4. Learn the best time of day for you to write
Deciding when to write is just as important as where you write.
Decide if you should write in the morning or evening
Writers are typically split into two camps – the morning writers and the late-night writers.
If you are more alert and productive in the morning, you should schedule your writing sessions as soon as you’ve woken up and had your breakfast. But if you find that words come easier to you during the evening, block out this time in your day to write.
Whatever time you work best, plan your other life commitments around your writing. It’s much easier to do a grocery shopping trip when you’re tired than to write the first chapter of a novel!
Once you’ve decided on a morning, afternoon, or evening writing slot it will become a habit with regular practice, and your productivity will improve.
5. Make it a habit
If you don’t have a writing routine, it’s easy to procrastinate or become disappointed with the work that you’ve done during a session.
Good habits will make you a better writer. Here are some ideas to help you establish a writing pattern that works.
How often you write will ultimately depend on your writing goals and deadline. It’s better to spend a few hours every day doing some good quality writing than it is to write for eight hours straight once a week, though.
Burning yourself out won’t do your writing project any favors! Bestselling author Stephen King writes daily, but what works for one author might not work for another!
Choose a time each day or a few times a week to work on your writing project, whatever is convenient for you.
Use timers and learn to time block
Setting a timer and using a calendar to time block your sessions will help keep you on track and those all-important motivation levels high.
You might decide to write 200 words a day or maybe 2000. It doesn’t really matter, but consistency does. Over time your words will take the form of a complete novel.
6. Prioritize your writing tasks
The best writing sessions are focused, so make sure you decide what you will be concentrating on before you get started.
As writers, our heads are often so full of ideas that it’s difficult to get anything done. Should you work on character development today or finish chapter 1?
On other days, you may struggle to find any inspiration at all.
Stay organized with a list
This is where prioritization can help. Keep a list of all your writing tasks in a notebook, spreadsheet, or any other method that works for you.
Many writers find electronic lists work well because you can edit them easily and quickly.
Once you’ve got your master writing tasks list, you can start prioritizing. A great place to start is by moving the jobs that you’ve already started to the top.
If you have several unfinished tasks, it’s unlikely that you will get anything done any time soon. Tackle these first, then move on to your new tasks later.
Choose tasks by time frame or how interesting they are
Other ways to prioritize your writing jobs include working on the little tasks first so you can get more done in a short amount of time or picking up the jobs that you’re most excited about first.
It doesn’t matter how you prioritize as long as it works for you.
Keep adding to your writing tasks list as you work on your project, but remember to keep writing and try not to get overwhelmed with ideas.
7. Adopt the right mindset
Mindset is a huge part of writing and achieving goals in general. To achieve a good writing mindset you need to believe in yourself. Easier said than done?
Before you do anything, clear your mind of things that are not writing-related. This will help you focus on the task at hand rather than the errands you need to run later.
Multi-tasking can work well when you have lots of household chores to do, but it won’t help your productivity when it comes to writing.
Have your daily goals where you can see them on your desk to boost motivation. Some people also find that saying your goals out loud helps you to meet them.
Recharging with regular breaks and writing down your accomplishments are also great ways to maintain a positive mindset so you can smash your writing goals.
8. Keep a writing log
Tracking your progress will help you stay motivated to achieve your writing goals.
To make things easier and encourage regular writing, use a writing log at the end of each writing session to make a note of the progress that you’ve made toward your goals. This will include details such as daily word or page count.
Writing logs are also a great way to find out when you’re at your most productive by looking back through your entries and analyzing your output.
You can then adapt your schedule accordingly, so you only write at the times that you write best.
9. Choose to go solo or team up with other writers
Writing alone can be great when you need to focus and make progress on meeting your goals. It can help you to stay true to your ideas and beliefs and reflect on the progress that’s been made.
But sometimes, it can feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your writing, which can be disheartening after all the hard work you’ve put in.
The support from other writers in a group writing session can help you improve your skills and boost your productivity. They can be particularly useful when you’re lacking motivation and want to get some feedback from other authors on particular sections of your writing.
You may find that a mixture of both solo and team sessions work well for you, so give them both a go and do what works for you.
10. Trust your ability
Above all, you need to keep your confidence up at all times.
Self-doubt can stop you from producing your best work, so it’s important not to let those thoughts enter your head when you’ve got a task to do. When you are able to believe in yourself, you can achieve great things.
Have a support system
Having a good support system around you of friends, family, and other writers is really important when it comes to writing.
Join online writing communities and meet up with positive, like-minded people who understand the joys and challenges of writing.
Sharing ideas, gaining valuable feedback, or simply talking to someone can do a world of good for your mindset and written work.
Related articles on writing tips
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- Creating Your Writers Toolkit: 14 Best Tools For Writers
- 9 Examples Of Content Writing And Key Tips For Content Writing
- How Long Does It Take To Write A Book? Tips For Success
Start using writing sessions to become a better writer today!
When it comes to writing, the best advice we can give is just to do it! But to do this, you need to ensure you are prepared.
Using your time wisely is a skill that all authors need to learn. It also starts with good habits.
This will allow you to dive right in and start writing straight away, boosting your efficiency as a writer.
Practice planning your next writing session with the tips in this article and see how much more productive you can be! And remember that having the right writer's tools can make all the difference.