Note: This post is from my newest project, Writers of Color. I created this site specifically for People of Color who write, especially for those individuals who use their words to demand justice for our People. Check out the Writers of Color site for more information on what the project is about and to receive info on upcoming writing sessions. If you’re not in Albuquerque but still interested in joining the writing session, fill out the Participate Remotely Form on the site.
One of the first major steps to take in becoming a more productive writer is making the commitment to write. You’ll hear writing experts say that you need to write every single day. While I completely agree with that, those of us who have families, are not full-time academics, and don’t have day jobs that are connected to writing, that is a major challenge and can make writing feel impossible.
I recommend the following in making the commitment to becoming (being) a more productive writer:
Write 3 Days of the Week
Start with making the commitment to write 3 days of the week. As your schedule allows, add another day until you are writing a minimum of 5 days a week. Although writing everyday sounds great in an ideal world, we also need to make writing realistic, especially for the Everyday Writers of Color who are parents, who have long work days, who have community commitments, among so many other things that are part of our lives.
Use Pomodoro Writing Method
I recommend using the Pomodoro Technique to help structure your writing. The basic idea is to write for 25 minutes, followed by a 5 minute break. In an ideal setting, you complete four 25 minute sessions per day or consecutively in a long writing session. If you’re able to complete four 25-minute sessions, that’s 100 minutes of writing per day.
Keep in mind that during the 25 minute session your goal is to keep completely focused on your writing. That means staying away from any social media distractions, email, texts, basically anything and everything that will distract you from your writing.
I recommend keeping your phone out of sight and stay off any online site by either closing your browser, minimizing it, staying offline, etc. The goal is to write for 25 continuous minutes and then during the 5 minute break, you can do what you like – check your email and phone, if you have to. Or, what I recommend is to stand up, stretch, walk around, or engage in any other physical activity that gets you up and out of your chair.
Once your first 25 minute session is complete and if you have the time and your schedule allows it, you can write for another 25 minute set. Remember for now, the goal is to write at least 25 minutes, 3 separate days of the week. If you can complete more than one 25 minute session in a day, that doesn’t count towards the 3 separate days. But, writing a minimum of 25 minutes on 3 separate days, you’re looking at 75 minutes of writing per week. That’s much better than 0 minutes.
Schedule your Writing Time
For those of us who have jobs that are not necessarily connected to writing and do not allow writing during the day, it’s a good idea to schedule your writing time.
Make time before the work week starts to look at your commitments/work and schedule in your 3 writing sessions. Other writers recommend to choose a specific time of day every time you write, but again, that’s not feasible for everyone.
In my mind, it doesn’t matter when you write. What matters the most is that you just spend time writing.
Again, just focus on making the commitment to write for 3 days of the week, 25 minutes minimum, regardless if that’s during the week or the weekend, in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night.
Write Regardless of ‘Mood’
What I mean by this is that we need to move far away from this idea that we should write only when we feel motivated or inspired to write. If that’s the case, most of us would only write once or twice a month, maybe even less.
What we need to do is view writing as part of our daily routine and not attach a specific mood to it. That is, even if you are not feeling the absolute inspiration to write during your scheduled writing time, push through it and write.
Separating our writing time from this idea of having to feel inspired or motivated is a major step in viewing writing as part of our routine and will help to incorporate more writing into our lives.
I hope these tips were helpful and feel free to share other writing tips you might have! Remember that Writers of Color is about creating a supportive space for our writing and a space where we can share writing tips/strategies, resources, vent, etc.