The Importance of Writing When You’re Not Writing

I know, I know… I can hear you reading that title and asking, “Wait, what?”

Bear with me. This makes sense, I promise.

I do most of my writing when I’m not writing. This week a friend asked me how I’m so productive on my lunch hour. (Even with taking a few minutes to eat, I tend to average about 1,000-1,200 words most days, up to 1,600 on a really good day).

And the answer is, I’m always writing, even when my hands aren’t on the keyboard.

Whenever I have a spare moment to think, I’m plotting or writing scenes in my head. In the bathtub, doing the laundry, when I’m exercising… they’re all ripe for creativity. I’ll problem-solve a plot hole, brainstorm ideas, or script an entire scene of dialogue in my head.

Then when lunchtime hits, I’ve got a whole deluge of ideas primed to go. I open up those floodgates and let them spill out onto the keyboard. There’s usually enough to cover that hour and clear my brain of those scenes. Then I start all over for the next day.

Part of this is practice. If you set a time to mentally plan, it may take a little while to get used to this routine.

I suggest giving it a shot for a week or two and see how it affects your writing productivity. Pick a regular activity where your hands are occupied but your mind can wander, such as doing the dishes or your morning shower. Spend that entire time planning out your next scene. Then see if it helps you get “in the zone” even more quickly once you do sit at the computer.

Hopefully this is a helpful technique! I’d be interested to see if this works for anyone else – sound off in the comments below!

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