Often for me it isn’t the time it takes to write that’s the problem, it’s how I can somehow waste that time once I sit down. I think there may be some concentration vampire that lives under my desk, but I have yet to find him so must ponder an alternate root cause.
M. Jaynes blogged about one key issue here recently, Creating a Writing Space. That’s an elemental item for me, because while I sometimes enjoy banging out ideas in a coffee shop or other public area, the distraction factor is through the roof.
Make your software leave you alone – Use tools to hide all the other pop ups and software running on your system. The browser is a tricky one for me because I use it for valid research, but then suddenly find myself surfing Wikipedia for an hour on random, tangential (but interesting) garbage.
Use pen and paper – It’s so retro it’s cool. On top of that, it really forces me to connect with my ideas and work slower. I struggle writing full paragraphs, but I can work out plot points, ideas, and phrases. I also like to people-watch when I do this, and make notes for characters. There is a Starbuck’s in San Francisco that I particularly love as I think only the most bizarre and fascinating people seem to stream in there (well, except for me of course)
Music – Maybe a given, but I think the choice is key. I like Classical, or Techno music. No words, just energy. It’s a mental white-noise for me, and helps me tune out all the other things to help me focus. If I give in and switch Pandora to my workout station to try and get “pumped” I invariably want to go hit the gym or something. Background noise only.
If I missed any favorite tricks you like to use, let me know. I can always use more… those vampires are relentless.