Janet here. I'm excited to have Margaret Daley in Seekerville today. As you'll see from Margaret's post, no one is more qualified to talk about productivity. As a bonus, she's brought some hunky "heroes" with her AND she's giving away two of her latest releases. Here's Margaret!
As soon as I figure that out, I will be able to write a post about how to do it. What I am going to tell you is what I've been doing, but I'll tell you that doesn't mean it has been easy. In fact, it has been downright hard at times. I have managed not to go down in flames--yet. But I've been close. You can only juggle a full schedule for so long before it affects you. So as I talk about producing, keep that in mind.
For many years I taught full-time and wrote three books a year. When I retired four years ago I upped that amount. My writing became my full-time job. I began to write five books a year. Recently someone asked me how I did it. I have always wanted to have something to do. I'm not sure I know what to do with too much free time, but come January I will have more time on my hands when I step down from being on the ACFW board as its president. After four intense years I'm looking forward to having some time to read again for pleasure. I've missed that.
One of the main things you can do to produce consistently is setting priorities. You need to decide if you want to write books and how much. It needs to become a priority. You have to sit down in front of the computer (or whatever you use to write on) and write. Most of the time I write everyday. By doing that, it is easier to stay in the story. I set a word count for the week. If I get it done before the week is over, I can take a day off. That inspires me to work during the week, but you know how it can be. Some days the words just don't come. By doing a weekly word count instead of a daily one, I don't get upset as often if I don't make my word count. That helps keep my spirits up which is important.
When you start to feel yourself burning out, step away for the time being. Do something different--totally different (like the above picture--too bad the male is a cutout--now the bottom one is a little better when I was at RomCon). Change up your routine. Forget your story for a while (sometimes harder to do than say). Know when to step back from writing (not the last two weeks before a book is due) and when you should write (near your deadline because it is important to make your deadline whether self-imposed or contract imposed). If you haven't sold a book and don't have a deadline, give yourself one. It's the same as setting a goal. When you do set that goal, pretend it is as serious as a deadline of a sold book. We need goals to keep us writing. We need the why we are doing something. And it is always good to establish a solid work routine. That will make it much easier when you do sell that first book.
There is one last tidbit to keep you producing your stories (okay maybe two). When you hit a brick wall and we all do from time to time, brainstorm with others what is bothering you about your book or what is blocking you. If nothing else, talk it out with yourself out loud if you can. Hearing it often helps me find a solution to what I need to do next. Or if that doesn't work, I go back and read what I've written so far. It often sparks the next direction I need to go. Another trick is to look at the main characters' back-story. Sometimes I need to add more to his past to mold a more in-depth character for my story. I often tell a writer if you feel you don't have enough plot for your story, look at your characters and dig deeper into who they are.
But the bottom line if you want to produce is sit down and write--every day if you can. I love seeing people reading and enjoying my books. I want my books to make a difference in people's lives. What are some things you do to keep yourself writing even when you don't want to?
Margaret is giving away a copy of Christmas Stalking and Shattered Silence. Leave a comment to be included in the drawing.
Christmas Stalking blurb:
Bodyguard Ellie St. James has one objective: protect her client…without letting her know. Pretending to be Rachel "Winnie" Winfield's assistant lets Ellie stay close, but there's an unexpected complication—Colt Winfield. Winnie's grandson wasn't in on the plans, and the suspicious marine biologist isn't easy to fool. When the truth comes out, so do more threats to Winnie's life. Trapped on a Colorado mountain, Ellie and Colt must trust each other to guard Winnie and find the stalker. Before this Christmas becomes their last.
A serial killer is targeting illegal aliens in southern Texas. Texas Ranger Cody Jackson is paired with a local police officer, Liliana Rodriguez, to investigate the murders.
Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-three books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.