By Karin Beery
Like many new writers, I couldn’t wait to trade in my morning commute for a leisurely stroll to home office … in my pajamas and slippers. But it didn’t take long for me to realize the dark side of a home office. It’s at home.
Do you know what else is at home? The dirty dishes. The laundry basket. The home phone. The television.
As much as I love not having to scrape off my car and drive through six inches of fresh snow every winter, I’m actually writing less than I did when I worked full time and wrote on the side. There are too many distractions!
What’s a writer to do? Over the years I’ve tried writing like dozens of other successful writers (who also work from home), but nothing worked.
This person writes five hours a day, so I wanted to do it. It didn’t work. So I read about that author who writes a minimum of 1,000 words a day. That didn’t work for me either. Why?
Because each of us is different, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. So what does a writer do?
- Know when you work best: Are you a morning person or a night owl? Don’t fight it. Work with it.
- Know what motivates you: Do you like to play first and work later or bust through a to-do list so you can put your feet up? Can you work with dirty dishes in the sink, or do you need to make sure those are clean first?
- Know how you work best: Can you sit down and write for five hours? Do you need the quiet of the library or the bustle of the coffee shop? Or maybe you prefer to grab a few minutes between other activities?
When you understand these things about yourself, you’ll discover a new level of productivity. I now know that I write better in the mornings, working for 45-60 minutes at a time, with white noise or classical music—something to keep my ears occupied without distracting me. Now that I know these things about me, I’m writing more and wasting less time (even with a house full of distractions).
I thought I needed to follow the experts’ “best practices,” but what I really needed was to discover my own best practices. Figure out what works best for you, then get writing!
Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.