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By Ben Cameron, May 16 2018 07:49AM

By Laxmi Hariharan

One of the most difficult things about being an author is to get down the words. You spend days thinking about writing, then the time comes to sit down to write and every possible distraction gets in the way. From social media, to shopping, and paying your bills, all of it gets in your way when you switch on the laptop and open the page of the manuscript.

Here are five easy tips to help you increase your word count and get one step closer to completing your book.

A. Plot before you write

This is the most important piece of advice you'll get here. If you plot before you write, then you know where you are headed. Your subconscious mind will done some of the work for you before you come to the writing desk.

It need not be very detailed, but a simple start, middle and ending of the book, ideally broken down by chapter is great.

It means you can refer to the notes on the chapters and always start from where you left off. Most importantly it means you don't feel that you are starting afresh each time you come back to the manuscript.

Books that can help you with this process are: Plot Gardening, Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox, Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing

by Libbie Hawke

B. Sprints

Time yourself. See if you can just keep writing until the alarm goes off. Start with fifteen minutes and build up to 45 minutes or an hour. During this time, you don't have permission to take your fingers off the keyboard. Keep writing, no matter that you are not happy with the words, or even if you feel what you are writing is terrible.

The goal is to write without a break, without distractions during that period of time. Then break, get a drink of water, or check your social media or emails, then get back to writing.

At the end of the day the chunks of uninterrupted writing time would have built up to something substantial.

If you can't start with fifteen minutes start with ten. Start small and build up.

C. Eat the frog

One thing that will help to get the words down is the 'eat the frog' principle. i.e. Get those words down first thing in the morning. Get it done and out before you move on to the other things in your life.

Do you want to avoid the temptation of surfing the internet or social media sites to help you get to writing faster? The following apps can help in that.

Self-control app

When I come to the writing desk, I check all my social media, and my emails, then switch on the app for forty-five minutes at a time. It's free to download and you can use it to block out all distracting social sites. Even if you find yourself trying to get onto Facebook, it will block the site, ensuring you stay rooted in your story.

Self-Control lets you specify the sites that distract you and then block them for a specified session. You can either list the sites you don’t want to go to or whitelist the only sites you’ll permit yourself. This is particularly helpful if you have certain sites you need for work but don’t want access to the rest of the internet.

Freedom App

This is a powerful distraction blocker, that once installed can be used to block distracting websites and apps.

One bonus of Freedom is that you can schedule focus sessions in advance. For example, if your willpower is always weak when you first get to work and you have a tendency to visit social media sites, then you can create a daily focus session that will automatically begin at a set time and prevent you from visiting those sites.

If you really want to hunker down, you can use the “Locked Mode” to prevent you from disabling the app.

D. Productivity Apps


This has helped make a big jump in my productivity. I simply hook on Brain.FM and use the specialized music to drown out all the noise and worries in my head so I am focused simply on the writing. There's a free trial period so you can try and see if this works for you.

Focus Music FM

If you're into deep house and EDM – then check this out. An app with the right kind of music to help you focus on work.

E. Quit while you are ahead

Counter intuitive as this may seem, this is key. By the end of the session I find I am in the groove and speeding along and that's when I stop and take a break. It means when I resume I don't face any blocks because I can still see where I am going, so there are no excuses then but to keep going. Ideally, I try to time each session with a chapter and try to get through most of the chapter in the sprint session.

Laxmi Hariharan is a New York Times Bestselling. Claim your free books from Laxmi here

We hope this was helpful. Do you have more productivity tips? Do write in and tell us at, Twitter: @CameronPMtweets or Facebook:

By Ben Cameron, Feb 18 2016 08:01AM

Over the past few days many authors have mentioned how overwhelming it all is: Writing the book, finishing it, putting it out there and then marketing it. And at the end of it you probably have only a few sales to show. Sometimes, even after publishing 4 or 5 or perhaps even 10 books you don't really have sales to write home about. And then there are those authors who sell thousands of copies, and you wonder what you are doing wrong; wonder if you'll ever get there or if it is time to walk away? If this is where you are then, pause, take a deep breathe. I am here to tell you it's okay to feel like this. I've been there and I can assure you every single one of those authors selling thousands today, have been where you are. Having said that, the question is, what next? How do you overcome this moment of crisis, and get back your mojo? Having spoken to many bestselling authors over the years and based on my own experience, here is a steer on how to put this existential crisis behind you and move onto writing your next book.

1.Why do you write?

It really is important to honestly answer this question. Speaking for myself, the turning point was realising I write to understand myself and my motivations in life. I write in the hope readers find their life motivations through my stories. Once I figured that out it gave me permission to not having to always emulate what other authors do. I realised the most important thing for me was to continuously improve with every book I wrote. That my craft got better. If I did this, I knew I'd get more 'readers' with each book, and finally more sales. So I ask you again. What is your motivation? Why do you write?

2. Pick only one thing a day and do it.

So the book is out now and there is a hell of a stuff to do around the marketing. So, where. Do. You. Start? You can spend the entire day on social media and yet feel you haven't got anywhere. What works for me is prioritising. Making a quick list at the beginning of the day. Then highlighting the one most important thing to get done and doing it. Pick only one thing and do it. But please do complete it whatever that is. The next day, make a fresh list and prioritise and do it. By the end of the week, I promise you'll have got through the most important stuff and a feeling of getting somewhere.

3. Finding Inspiration in repetition

So then, you ask. All this is great. What about the writing? When do you write? How do you carve out the space for writing? The only thing that works for me is to set a routine and stick to it. Working a full time job, then getting home and back to my desk —You do need a writing space, a desk somewhere and preferably not the kitchen table—That's my routine. There are days when I am exhausted, but I force myself to sit and write. Even just two sentences. Just doing it day after day, creating muscle memory, I am convinced that is what it is. You do something often enough, you create muscle memory. So that physically your body craves that feeling of having to be at your desk and writing and that's how you build the book. Sentence by sentence.

4. What is your writing rhythm?

A big part is understanding yourself what works for you. Which time of the day to write—late nights for me— what are the triggers? For me it's lots of tea and to shut down the distraction in my head. And Selfcontrol – a free app that helps me shut out all social networks for a period of time. So really trying to shut out all distractions and get into that zone. And doing it day after day. Do it often enough and you'll end up missing the writing when you don't do it for a day.

5. It's a marathon not a sprint

So you've managed to even do most of the marketing and you've gotten started on the next book, but the damn first one is not even selling. Not nearly enough. What now? Do you throw it in and leave. This is where I remind myself that it took me 15 years to become the Marketing Director of a well-known international media company. That's a lot of hours on the job there learning and then learning to apply what I learnt and then getting those break through ideas. And then I think I am going to become a bestselling author overnight? In 2 years? In 5 years even? Puts things in perspective right? And perhaps there are those who hit it overnight with one book, or become a CEO on their first job, but lets face it. For a normal person like me, it's going to take longer. And I am going to use that time to better my craft, and drive the discoverability of my books.

6.How badly do you want it?

So now you're thinking, does it really take 3 or 5 or 10 years to get the level of sales where it begins to make economic sense? Short answer – Yes! But ... It's not that black and white. This is where I ask - how badly do you want it? Do you want it enough to persevere and keep going, month after month, year after year even, knowing that you really can go forward and not back. It's often those who persevere, those who come back to their original 'red thread' year after year who finally get there. For me – it's not just about wanting it. This is me, what I have wanted to do my entire life. This is the only time I am myself. So there is no turning back for me. And you?

Next week: How to create and implement a minimum-impact book-marketing plan

Laxmi Hariharan is an international bestselling author and a media marketer. She has worked with MTV, NBCUniversal and the BBC and has written for The Guardian and Huffington Post among others. Find hear at

Do tweet @cameronpmtweets with any questions you have on book marketing/ PR or about the Indie author journey. We love hearing from you. Also follow us on FB to get the latest news on publishing, books marketing and industry developments.

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