Finding uninterrupted time as a beginner writer will increase your writing performance and productivity. HELEN SMITH explains how.
Know what some of the biggest enemies are thwarting your success as a writer? WhatsApp beeps. Email pings. The siren when your washing machine stops. The shouts of “Mom! Where are my shoes?” or “Mom! Tell him to stop poking me!”
If, like me, you are a beginner writer, the most important advice I can give you is: find uninterrupted time.
Uninterrupted time creates writing momentum for beginner writers
Consider Newton’s First Law of Motion, as explained by Khan Academy, “If you want to keep an object moving, you have to keep applying a force to it.”
You sit down to write. Your idea is captivating. You begin. The dog barks, the doorbell rings. You shout at the dog and deal with the doorbell. You sit down to write. You pick up where you left off. Then your phone rings.
Each time your writing is interrupted the force stops, and your momentum is lost. Momentum in writing is essential as it allows for your idea to build, change, build again and then settle.
“Each time your writing is interrupted the force stops, and your momentum is lost”.
Bestselling author Zadie Smith has the answer to creating uninterrupted time: “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.”
- Lisa Steingold’s Writing Life And Advice For Writers – By Paula Correia
- How Writers Can Keep The Bright Ideas Flowing
- How To Be A More Productive Writer
Uninterrupted time allows beginner writers to find “flow”
Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
According to a report by McKinsey, to understand the impact of “flow”, Csíkszentmihályi studied thousands of people across different disciplines including business, sport and the Arts. He then drew these conclusions:
- The mental state of “flow” gives rise to great performance; and
- The more frequently people experience “flow” the more productive they are.
“Flow” is about continuity, lack of friction and being without interruption. Getting into a state of flow increases writing performance and productivity
Ernest Hemingway understood the value of “flow” when he offered this writing advice: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”.
So, as a new writer, silence your phone, turn off the washing machine and kick the kids out the house. Do whatever it takes to find your uninterrupted time and then “bleed”.
Interesting authors’ writing rituals
Edith Sitwell is said to have lain in an open coffin before she began writing.
Friedrich von Schiller used the scent of rotten apples, stored in his desk, to help him write.
James Joyce wrote lying on his stomach in bed, with a large blue pencil, clad in a white coat, and composed most of Finnegans Wake with crayon pieces on cardboard. (Source: Interesting Literature Blog)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Smith is new to writing and plans to write on youth development and her own journey managing her anxiety. Helen loves road tripping across South Africa with her family and walking in the Welsh countryside. Helen lives with her husband and two children in Johannesburg, South Africa.