- Realizing That I Did Not Have Writing Stamina
- What Is Writing Stamina?
- 8 Ways to Increase Your Writing Stamina
- Writing Stamina vs Writing Discipline: At The Same Time or…
Realizing That I Did Not Have Writing Stamina
10 minutes every day.
That’s the strategy I picked up from a creative writing course. And the strategy that introduced me to building writing discipline. Which in turn helped me with writer’s block and taking too long to get motivated or ready to write. If you keep up with this amazing blog, you’ll remember the blog post I write on the topic. Around that time building writing discipline was the key to unlocking a level of productivity in my writing that had yet to reach.
Now 10 minutes is not enough.
And that’s technically a good thing. My writing sessions are getting longer which means that I am writing more which also means that my stories are getting developed a little bit faster. But as I am growing out of my 10-minute writing session phase, I am noticing an inconsistency with my productivity during writing sessions. I have actually been observing this for some time now, and after a failed blog post I tried to write to celebrate 1-year blogging as a fiction writer, I realized that the next key to unlocking the next level of my productivity is increasing my writing stamina. Even though the post failed to get published, all of the reminiscing and recollection of my progress and journey helped me come to a superb realization.
Now, what in the world is writing stamina?
What Is Writing Stamina?
From what I understand,
Writing stamina is the ability to write for long periods of time with consistently productive effort, energy, creativity, and focus.
Note the “consistently productive part”. The point is to be able to keep writing well the whole time that you’re writing. And have all your creative wheels turning and working in an organized and effective way for you to produce beautiful writing for a long period of time. Writing Stamina may not necessarily mean breaking up your writing session throughout the day but is an interrupted period of time. Though short 5-10 minute breaks are allowed ( I say ).
8 Ways to Increase Your Writing Stamina
1. Little by Little
Like many things writing stamina does not come overnight. But similar to building writing discipline, starting small is the way to go. My start to both writing discipline and writing stamina was writing 10 minutes at a time. And as I got comfortable with the time frame and lost in the writing, I inevitably started writing for longer than periods. Gradually increasing my time, I’ve gotten used to productively going over for ten minutes, and on from there.
10 minutes is a really really short time for a writing session. But if you have absolutely no writing stamina then gradually increasing your writing time in short intervals is sure to help. This method also works if you’ve lost wriitng stamina and have to work your way back up.
Build your writing stamina little by little, by gradually increasing the time you spend concentrating on writing your stories.
2. Writing Sprints
Have you ever heard of writing sprints?
A writing sprint is when a writer aims to write as much as they can in order to reach word count goals within a decided time span. Sprints have two main goals, 1. To reach or pass a word count and 2. to write as much as you can, with no distraction and all focus. Off the top of my head, an ideal writing sprint could be between 45 mins and an hour with a word count goal of 3,00-5,000 words.
Whether you have great writing stamina or not, writing sprints can help push you past your regular limit. Making writing sprints a part of your regular or irregular routine will help you stretch your mind and fingers to write longer than usual. So that way you get used to spending extended periods writing and working on your story.
After all, the more words you can get done every day, the faster your story/book can get completed. But please don’t write 24/7. Do go and live your life and get some sun.
I’ve mentioned writing sessions in multiple posts, and now I mention writing sprints, and as I was doing a little research on writing sprints I wondered what the difference was.
I like to think that writing sprints are more rigid and rigorous than writing sessions. There is a lot that goes into writing a book/story, especially for a plotter like me. Working on a story can mean many other things than writing words. Some writing sessions can include research, plotting, plot experiments, and whatever. But writing sprints are specifically dedicated to writing as many words as I possibly can within a specific time span to reach a word count goal.
So writing sessions are more for working on your story. While writing sprints are dedicated to increasing the word count of your story.
There are a couple more similarities and differences that I can think of but for the sake of this post, I’ll keep the comparison short. Comment on any questions you have about the two writing events so that we can continue the discussion in the comment section.
So, writing sprints definitely increase your writing stamina. I’d even say it can deliver drastic improvements.
3. Take Breaks
Breaks give our minds and bodies time to reset, reload and relax. Within a long writing session or writing sprint, breaks can help your creativity flow more productively. Those short moments of recharge allow you to write for longer periods. Which then increases your writing stamina.
If you want to increase your writing stamina taking breaks is a sure method to start incorporating into your routines.
Short breaks between 5-15 minutes are great time-frames to recharge your brain and not disrupt your workflow and creativity.
4. Time & Place
I’ve noticed major differences in my writing when I write in a warm room versus a cold one. When I write with jazz music playing in the background versus classical music. When I write in the morning versus when I write I night. Or when I write facing a window versus when I write facing a wall.
Where you write, when you write matters. These two factors and any other personal accommodations can make a noticeable difference in how you focus and in how long you write.
Personally, I’ve noticed that while I would prefer writing in the morning, I get a lot more writing done in the afternoon when everything is slowing down and nighttime is approaching. But you, you may prefer writing in the nighttime or as soon as you wake up.
Pay attention to the time of day and the sort of environment that make it easier for you to concentrate and get more writing done.
Then pick the right where and when to write so that your writing stamina naturally increases.
5. Remove Distractions
Eliminating distractions will allow you to write more words with less effort. When the only on your mind is the story your write, all your productive effort can go to one place.
Removing physical distractions can be the first step. My phone, to-do lists, and push notifications are the things that distract me the most. So, I could turn off my phone or put it on do not disturb and put away my to-do lists. Physical distractions like these may be hard to pull away from, but actually removing the distraction can take seconds or minutes.
Whereas intangible distractions like troubling thoughts, fatigue, and even the temperature of the air or how it smells can take a little longer to resolve. While distractions may be the biggest pain and take a little bit more time to eliminate they are so worth dealing with. If the fight you had with your mother is keeping you from writing, take a break and deal with what your mind is simmering over. If you’re tired, go to sleep. And if you just happen to be writing at a park bench on the side of the street where a garbage truck pulls over stinking up the air, move to another spot. That last example was a little bit dramatic but hopefully, you get my point.
Approaching your work with a clear and focused mind gives you the opportunity to reach your goals and more. Take notice of the things that distract you and remove those distractions one by one.
If every little thing distracts you, then maybe you need to work on general focusing first. Practicing concentrated moments of writing in small intervals (like 5-10 minutes) at a time will help.
Remove distractions to increase your writing stamina.
You may not have expected this but snacks have amazing effects on our productivity. Eating the right kind of snacks increases concentration and energy. So during a writing session, they would keep you from going hungry and stimulate productive thinking. Snacks that are easy to eat and easy to clean are ideal. Our hands are most needed to write, so a snack that occupies your hands too much or dirties it, may not be the best choice.
Mixed nuts are great snacks to try.
Try adding snacks into your writing session to increase your writing stamina.
7. Time Your Self And Don’t Time Your Self
I used to set a timer for my writing sessions and now start a stopwatch and see how long I could write.
Timing your writing sessions are a great way to keep on track with building your writing stamina. But writing without a specific end time is also great because you just write and finish whenever you finish.
I started using stopwatches when I continually went overtime for most alarms and timers I set for writing sessions. Since I realized that I not only needed more time but wanted more time to write.
Having a timed writing session is great but give yourself ample time to just write without any time restraints now and again. So time your self but also, don’t time yourself to increase your writing stamina.
8. Clean Up Your WorkSpace
Some people thrive in a messy environment. But if that’s not you. Clean up your workspace!
If you’re taking a lot of time to clean your writing space, or if the mess in your workspace gets in your way during a writing session oand/r distracts you, then you might need to brainstorm storm ways to keep your writing space clean. So that way your space allows you to be ready to write. A dirty workspace can definitely spoil the excitement to write.
I’m somewhere in between. While I like my workspace tidy I don’t mind if my desk gets a bit messy with work I am already working on. But if my desk is cluttered with old work, my writing stamina is definitely messed with.
With a clean environment, you have all the space to write with nothing in your way.
Maybe a dirty work environment is messing with your writing stamina. If that is the case then clean up your desk and workspace to increase your writing stamina.
Writing Stamina vs Writing Discipline: At The Same Time or…
I’ve written a post about building writing discipline and now I am writing a post about increasing writing stamina, what is the difference?
Writing discipline is when a writer can consistently keep a regular writing schedule: i.e. writing every day at 8 am or writing every day for 2 hours. Writing stamina refers to how long a writer is able to consistently keep focused and creative during a writing session: i.e. being able to write two great chapters in one sitting or pass a 5,00-word count without any distractions or writing inconsistencies.
When I mention writing inconsistency, I am talking about being able to keep the same flow, pace, pattern or level of creative language, tone, and mood.
As I was growing out of my 10-minute writing sessions I was noticing writing inconsistencies beyond my 10-minute point. But as I kept writing and began to explore ways for me to refocus and maintain focus, those writing inconsistencies began to decrease and/or take place much later in my writing sessions.
Incorporating breaks into my writing session works wonders for me. I found that I don’t have much difficulty picking up where I left off. So preserving and recharging my energy with breaks allows me to write for longer periods of time than I would be able to if I try to get all my writing done in one sitting with no breaks.
I also love using stopwatches. As I mentioned in the list, I often time my writing and recently have been using stopwatches to see how far I can go. And I have been surprising myself. But since I use timers on my phone I sometimes have to work a bit harder to not look at my phone to check the timer and then procrastinate. Putting my phone in a drawer or across works.
My journey with writing stamina is a never-ending one. But as I continue to understand what works for me as a writer, there are so many ways and opportunities for me to increase and maintain my writing stamina.
Growing out of my 10-minute writing session was a bit nerve-wracking but as I move on to try writing sprints, I am really enjoying the excitement I get from focusing on my story one word at a time.
Try these 8 methods to increase your writing stamina and pay attention to the things that help you productively increase your writing stamina and the things that hold you back. A lot of improvement has to do with paying attention.
Don’t just be a good writer, be a great one
Until my next words (on here that is)