Ninjas need to be swift, self-disciplined, and focused. They can't waste time. Nonfiction writers can benefit from similar practices.
When my children were young, I learned to fit writing into the corners of a busy schedule: during 15 minutes in waiting rooms, 20-minute nap times, 30-minute swim lessons, 45-minute music lessons. Amazingly, I got lots of writing done in those short but precious periods of time. How?
By focusing on small but significant tasks. By thinking strategically. By writing in sprints.
Knowing I have a limited period of time helps me concentrate on a single task, focusing my energy and attention. With a block of several hours, I can fool myself and fritter away an hour "warming up" or surfing the Web. But with only 30 minutes? I’m racing against the clock.
Even when I'm not waiting for someone, I can set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes to do a writing sprint. The key to making this period productive is to focus on one small, specific task that can be accomplished in that short time span.
What can be done in short sprints of focused writing? Here are a few ideas:
Revising and Editing
Try mixing in sprints with your writing marathons. Like interval training in physical exercise, doing short, intense bursts of activity can build up your writing muscles and increase your productivity.
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The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas and a strong belief in The First Amendment. The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.
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