A New Productivity Strategy (that's actually working)
I joined one of those sprint writing groups a few weeks back. I avoided them for a long time thinking that my writing time was just fine. I'd set aside a couple of hours in the morning, and fiddle my way through a manuscript. That worked for the first year, but do you know what finally ended up happening? Facebook, Buzzfeed, Playbuzz, and any other distraction began to eat up my couple of hours of writing time.
I knew it was time to change up my writing habits. I joined the sprinting group that's attached to my favorite writing community because I knew the people would be friendly and they typically work with the same genre as me. I wouldn't get those sideways looks that usually occur when I'm an adult working with the sword and sorcery genre. (Who doesn't need a little magical distraction from the realities of life?)
Anyway, the way writing sprints work is this. We post in our Facebook group when we are looking to sprint to see if any other writers are on working like we are. We start on the hour, or on the :15, :30, etc. and work solidly for 30 minutes. That's it. That's all you work on, you close or minimize your other tabs and you solely read and write your manuscript. When the time is up you come back to the group and report how many words you've written and share the parts of your manuscript that you can. (There isn't a stigma against sex scenes or extraordinarily violent scenes, but typically you keep those to yourself in the sprint group).
You might not think that writing for 30 minutes would get much from brain to paper, but it is definitely more productive than sitting on your machine for a couple of hours and not having any structure to how you approach things. It's easy to get online to research something for your writing and then find yourself five screens later looking at the latest meme trend or whatever other crap is going on in the social media sphere.
The beautiful part is that you can always sprint again, or sometimes one sprint is enough to get your creative juices flowing and it allows you to continue to finish that chapter that you've been stuck on for a week. In any case, if you aren't part of a sprint writing group, I recommend you start one or join one. You'll be glad to have that group of support.