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04/09/2002 - TIPS ON PRODUCTIVITY, PART 2
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TIPS ON PRODUCTIVITY, PART 2

Dear Friends,

When things are going well, you don't have to think about your productivity. The writing flows naturally and easily, and the deadlines keep you honest. But when you're working on spec, or when life throws lots of other responsibilities at you, it's good to have a few techniques to keep the words, pages, and finished scripts coming.

Last week, I talked about two tips to keep writing. The first was multi-tasking - working on multiple projects at once. The second was adapted from, I believe, Hemingway, who used to stop writing in the middle of a sentence, so that he could get a running start the next day.

Keeping in mind that these are in no particular order - just a bag of tricks that help you keep moving, and hopefully do something to counteract the fact that writing is sometimes abominably difficult, especially when it's done right.

Another thing that seems to help me write for long days and long weeks is writing in spurts, anywhere from five to twenty minutes, then take mini-breaks. During those short breaks, I'll do little things - clean, get the mail, stretch, walk around the room a couple of laps, etc. - to take my mind off of the screen for a second. Obviously, if the writing is flying out, I don't usually take one of these breaks, but that doesn't mean that I take a break every time I run in to trouble, either. The breaks have more to do with my concentration and momentum than production. If I don't feel as if I have the focus to tackle a big issue, then I step back for a minute and try to do something I loathe, like cleaning the bathroom or laundry.

Even though my actual time at the keyboard is slower, by interspersing short periods of work with brief breaks, I find that, at the end of the day, I get more done.

And speaking of that, I've got to go do laundry or something. More tips to come.

Sporadically,

Grady

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