1. Separate your research/learning/”get hyped” time from your actual writing time.
2. Close your character sketches, your dictionary, your style guide, all your writing tools except the ones you use to physically write. All the other materials are for rewrites and editing. Focus on writing the rough draft first.
3. Don’t eat while you write! I know, I know, it’s your go-to thing. But even when you’re mindlessly reaching for food while thinking, it’s still slowing you down.
4. Stop checking your word/page count. Don’t worry about it. Just keep writing.
5. Flip your phone upside-down and leave it that way. Keep it on Do Not Disturb mode. Looking at notifications, even if you don’t respond to them, is still distracting.
6. You don’t need to look up how to spell every unfamiliar word or research every fact [depending on the type of writing you’re doing, of course]. Write first. Get it right later.
7. Some writers need background music. Others need silence. Don’t choose the one that doesn’t work for you because you think it’s how it “should” be done.
8. If you do need background sound, try white noise or instrumental tracks. You might not think talking in videos or podcasts distracts you while writing, but on a subconscious level, it probably does.
9. Write down everything your brain thinks you need to do “right now” (in the middle of writing) as you think of it. Refer back to your list once you’re done writing.
10. Also … write down all the new ideas you accidentally meet while working on something else. Save them for later. Then keep writing.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.