Finding time to write

5 - Take breaks - You need to take breaks for maximum productivity. Research shows that the average person can only listen for forty-five to fifty minutes before his attention begins to flag. For creative work, the period of time you can really produce your best is even shorter. Work for twenty minutes and then take a five minute break away from your notepad or computer. Take frequent short breaks throughout your work day, and you'll get more done.

6 – Write, don't think - Take a sheet of paper and answer the following questions about the story you are working on: Who is having the problem? What is the problem? Where and when does it take place? What excites you about the problem? How is the problem resolved? Unless you plot your work in advance, you’re wasting writing time - if you have to stop and think about these questions you've moved from writing what you already 'know' to speculating about what might happen: that's a different mental activity and can be done while you're walking the dog, paying the bills or cooking the dinner. Keep writing time for writing down words you've already pondered over.

7 – Be practical - You've got a story ready to send out and then you realise you're out of big envelopes, your stamp drawer is empty or your last printer cartridge just ran out of ink. Stock up on basic office supplies, and have the tools you need most next to your desk: a good dictionary, a thesaurus, your list of markets and your database or submission folder. Every time you have to get up to check something, you're losing writing time.