Oh, now to my tribe: PANTSERS!
Not sure you are a Pantser? This means you are the writer that doesn’t make an outline before you write. And you continue writing until your mind tells you to stop. If you have followed this space for any time, you would be familiar with the terms flash fiction and freewrite.
A freewrite is when you write the down an idea–no outline, no expectation. This can be as short as a a paragraph, but a normally not longer than two pages.
Flash fiction is when you down and idea for the express purpose of developing that idea into a draft. This is different than a freewrite. How? It is written with the intent of developing into a short story or a longer story! Don’t despair over these things! These are tools as well! These tools are as important (or if not more important) than an outline! If anything it can work en tandem with your outline.
Work the tools that you have at your disposal!
Note: Depending on the topic, depending on the nature of what you are writing, you may actually need to do both, or one before another. Or one after the other. It is also okay for you to be a Pantser and then become an Outliner. It is also okay to be an Outliner who becomes a Pantser! Writing allows for vacillation and change! Be open to that! In being open, you will be able to better handle the creative obstacles that writing/book writing can bring.
There are many things that can take your focus when you are determined to write. Now, distractions can be anything, and coming from anywhere. Yet, you must know that you have control over what you pay attention to. You have the complete power to write, not write, or be distracted while writing.
The chief way to keep focus while you are writing is to develop a writing schedule. Being able to develop a set time to write will remind you that you have to write! Your writing schedule should be three things:
1.) Fixed-Flexible. Your writing schedule should suit your life, and be able to adjust to its demands. An example of this you want to write for 1 hour 3 times a week. Let’s say you still have a day job and you have to pick up hours. One hour 3 times a week may not be possible! However, you may be able to do 1 hour twice a week, or 30 minutes 3 times a week. The goal is to write–while making it suit your life. This is especially helpful when you a specific deadline assigned or chosen.
2.) Stick to the plan. Book writing can often feel like hacking through a jungle with a machete. It is essential that you have a reference point to re-center. Having an outline (or reworking the outline in certain cases) to reference provides a source of encouragement to keep writing.
3.) Be like a rubber band. The great thing about a writing schedule is that you can adjust it as you see fit! You can increase time, decrease it, or even designate certain days (this is different from fixed-flexible). This is a good tool when you are getting back to your writing after some hiatus.
Keep up the good work!