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04/02/2002 - TIPS ON PRODUCTIVITY, PART 1
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TIPS ON PRODUCTIVITY, PART 1

Dear Friends,

Over the next few weeks, I'd like to share work habit tricks that pros use to stay productive day in and day out. Today, I want to talk about multi-tasking and stopping before you're finished.

The first tip, multi-tasking, is helpful in keeping your momentum going, both on a daily basis, and over the long term. When I use the term "multi-tasking," I don't mean that it's best to talk on the phone, watch television, and read a book while you're writing. I'm saying that it's often difficult, if not impossible, to sustain focus on one project over weeks at a time. One powerful technique I've heard is to work on two projects at once, so you can switch back and forth when you're not making progress on one or the other. I've never seen any writer who doesn't need a break away from stories in order to take them to another level and, in fact, to finish them properly.

Do you ever have trouble getting started when you sit down to write? The second tip of the week addresses just that problem. Try this: stop writing mid-way through a scene at the end of the day. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't remember the writer who wrote about this tip first. It may have been William Goldman, or it may have been a well-known novelist. Whoever said it obviously knew what they were doing. I've used it quite a bit, and it really helps to give me a running start into the next day. Just be sure you write a little summary of the ending for the scene so that you can get right into it without losing your train of thought.

Both are time-tested. Throw them into the mix of your work habits and see what happens. More to come over the next few weeks.

Tipping,

Grady

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