This is probably going to be the hardest advice to follow out of everything I’ve said! But I understand what it’s like to beat yourself up when you’re not getting any words written. I did it for a few days and it got me nowhere.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Sometimes there’s nothing more intimidating than the blank page staring back at you, and when you’ve got nothing written all day: you just don’t feel deservng of any time off. The less obvious and slightly uncomfortable truth about this situation however, is that you do also need quality down time for productivity.
Yes of course you need quality time to be fully switched on and in focus. But you also need some time to be fully switched off and concentrating one hundred percent NOT on your writing.
Some days you might have to admit defeat and vow to make it up in the following days. Sometimes a day off is what you need to clear your mental block.
Think About Your Goals
Honestly I recommend that you always think about your goals as you are writing. When I imagined accomplishing my challenge of 50,000 words in 30 days I imagined how happy and proud I would be when I finished. That helped to keep me going– that and the fact I had told a lot of people I was doing the challenge to keep me accountable!
Some days I let myself get a bit negative. Instead of thinking ‘I’m over half way through’ I ‘d start thinking ‘Argh, I’ve got almost half still left to write’. We’ll all have moments like that, but try to put a positive spin when you find your mind wandering into dark places!
Find Your Natural Rhythm
Quickly into my challenge I realized I did a lot better when I wrote in the mornings. Why? Because by lunch I could forget about the annoying task of completing my challenge and just get on with whatever else needed doing. Find a time that works for you and stick to it.
Also, I recommend rewarding yourself when you meet certain goals. You could have a nice snack, a special lunch, go out somewhere, Tweet for a while … whatever, just something that makes the pain worthwhile!
How to Ignore Your Inner Editor
Since I based this challenge on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) one of the main goals is simply to get the words written without making sure they’re perfect.
In an ideal world we ‘d be writing perfect first drafts. But we know that isn’t going to happen, and if we try to make it happen it could put us off even starting in the first place!
This is why you need to learn to ignore the inner editor. This is the voice in your head that criticizes everything you write, that tells you to go back and change things, and that keeps you procrastinating and stops you moving forward!
This is NOT to say that this is going to be the polished version of your eBook ready to sell. But many people find that getting the words out in the first place is one of the hardest steps. Once your writing challenge is over, you can take time to edit your eBook and get it just right before it goes on sale / before you give it away.
How to Stop the Inner Editor from Holding You Back
There are no magic words I can say to get you to completely ignore that voice inside you. All I can say is that it takes practice. Just write. That’s all you need to do (after a little planning). Write and don’t look back.
Best Productivity Book Ideas For Writers
If you’re having a really hard time and really want to get into this writing thing then I do have a little tip. It’s called ‘writing meditation’ which is something I used to do everyday, and I really noticed just how productive it made me. I’m sure there are many other names for the technique, but it basically means free writing.
All you need to do is get a pen and paper (this probably allows you to be a little more free than typing on the computer) and simply write. Write whatever comes into your mind. That might be something about what you’re going to cook for dinner, or what you need to do that day. You might write about things on your mind– and, if you can’t think of anything to write about, you should just write that!
After fifteen minutes you’ll have a few pages of writing. This is about any topic and won’t necessarily be a work of art, but you’ll probably feel better for it. This is a great technique for learning how to get the inner editor out of your mind and just get on with the writing!
Learn to Control That Voice
Always remember that ‘the little voice’ is actually you! This means you do have control over it, and you can teach it to shut up!
Embrace the Nature of the Challenge
You should also learn to embrace the nature of the challenge. Instead of looking at it negatively, thinking that if you ignore your inner editor you’ll write garbage, think of it on the flip side: ignoring your inner editor makes it so much easier to write, because that’s your only job– to write! You don’t need to over-think, which will probably save you hours of procrastination.
Stop Checking Your Word Count
The best way to ignore your inner critic is simply to get in the ‘flow’ of writing, which means to stay in that flow for as long as possible. Don’t distract yourself too often by checking your word count. Yes, your challenge might be based on reaching a certain word count each day. But checking too often really does disrupt the flow of things. Often you’ll find that you exceed your word count this way!
Even if you have a lot of greatly imaginative and creative ideas about what to write your stories about, it’s not neccessarily always so easy to get the words on the page in an organised and consistent way.
Writing your book requires not only yur creativity and imagination but also requires you to employ your skills at time management and overall project organization. Hopefully these simple tips will hepl with some degree of self discipline and move you a little further away from perfectionist tendencies and a little closer to just ‘getting the job done’ !