Stay In The Flow
To maximize your writing time, follow two guidelines for writing your mystery.
Go into the story.
Stay in the flow.
When you go into the story, you visualize the scene – who is there, what they say and do, and the surroundings. Your work is to translate what you visualize into words.
A focus on writing keeps you in the flow. Any distractions that stop the flow slow you down.
Each writer writes at their own pace. You can write faster whatever your pace by avoiding roadblocks that stop your writing.
Preparation gives you the background – characters, story world, setting. The more you know the faster you will write.
8 Tips to Keep Writing
When you are ready to write your story, set up your writing space with few distractions. Stay focused on writing. Distractions come in many forms, so to avoid a break in your flow, keep your writing time distraction-free.
- Know your characters. Your work in your Character Bible will pay off when you write. You understand your characters and their context in the story.
- Use your outline. Your storyline outline keeps you on track. You know what goes in each chapter. All you need to do is write the chapter.
- No distractions. Turn off phone, email, and social media. Notify your family and friends that your writing time is private. If you respect your writing time, they will.
- Gather your snacks and drinks before you start.
- Establish a regular writing time. Developing this habit trains your mind to focus on writing.
- Use your outline to research anything you know will be in your scene or chapter. For example, if a weapon will be in this section, look up details before you write.
- Create a symbol like four red Xs to mark a place where you need more research. Don’t stop to do the research while you are writing. If you need more details about how forensic accounting or a Glock 9 work, stay with the story. Keep going. Come back to those research spots later.
- Don’t self-edit. Leave those comma, hyphen, dash, colon questions for later. Use your spell checker after you have written. Use your check-later symbol for anything you want to check.
You may discover your own personal writing blockers. Recognize them and keep writing.
Train Your Brain
Commit to your writing time. The biggest obstacle to blocking your writing flow is you. Your mind will come up with reasons to stop writing. I’ll just take this one phone call or answer this one email. Ignore those temptations.
When you honor your writing time, you strengthen your commitment. And, the more you write, the better you’ll feel about the rewards of progressing toward the end of your mystery.
Some writers create the first draft on paper. They perform their first edit and catch up on those research questions as they enter it on the computer.
Others, write in the morning and edit in the afternoon or evening.
Others, edit what they wrote the day before to get into the story to continue with their writing time for the day. Some do a shortcut to this by ending mid-sentence and picking up at that point in the next writing session.
Experiment with different methods to find the one that works for you.
Each writing session gets you closer to finishing your mystery. The better the flow, the sooner you get to The End.