Gini Dietrich

Five Tips for Writing Large Body of Works

By: Gini Dietrich | February 18, 2013 | 
119

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. D and I saw a super cheap flight and stay at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. I’m not normally a beach person. If we’re going to vacation in February, I’d prefer to ski.

But he sold it to me as, “You can get a lot of writing done” and, in fact, I’m writing this from a beach in Montego Bay. If we were skiing, I would not be writing.

We flew down only for the weekend, but it was enough for me to write 8,000 words of Spin Sucks, get some sun, and be waited on hand and foot.

No laundry to do. No dog waking me up at 5 a.m. for breakfast. No meal planning. No grocery shopping. No fighting with traffic in and out of Whole Foods. No responsibilities, whatsoever. Just me, my laptop, some sunscreen, and a beach chair.

If you write, I highly recommend it. But you have to be motivated to get it done and not be easily distracted by all the booze you can drink and the swim-up bar at the infinity pool.

Tips for Writing Large Body of Works

So how did I manage? Following are some tips.

  1. Set a goal. My goal was to write 2,000 words per day (for a total of 6,000 words). If you already know what you’re going to write about, 2,000 words should take you no more than four hours. On Sunday, I actually got them done in less than two hours. But I ended up writing more than my goal on Saturday so I wrote for five hours.
  2. Turn off the distractions. While I wrote, I turned off my WiFi access. If I needed to do some research, I turned it back on, got what I needed, and turned it off again. My friend Ken Jacobs can tell you he knew when I needed a brain break because he found me commenting on Facebook (and called me out several times).
  3. Don’t drink too much. We’re at an all-inclusive, which means, yes, even the booze is “free.” I keep joking that Ernest Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” But I am not a big drinker to begin with so I know I wouldn’t be able to focus on the task at hand if drunk.
  4. Reward yourself. Once I finished writing each day, I shut down my laptop (and access to the rest of the world) for the rest of the day. No worrying about work or my overflowing inbox or my task list was my reward.
  5. Read some, too. Reading always motivates me to write more. So I spent some time reading fiction (I know, big surprise). I also gave myself an hour each day to read a business book. I’m reading Andy Crestodina’sContent Chemistry” right now.
Oh yeah. You also need a pair of dark sunglasses and a keyboard condom.

Of course, flying to Jamaica for the weekend isn’t always possible if you’re writing a book. These tips work just as well at home (if you’re willing to take a weekend off from your other responsibilities).

You tell me. What works for you?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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119 Comments on "Five Tips for Writing Large Body of Works"

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jasonkonopinski
3 years 2 months ago

Who knew that a computer is completely functional sans internet?

HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@jasonkonopinski who knew she liked to write?

jasonkonopinski
3 years 2 months ago

@HowieG¬†I’m gob-smacked by this development.

HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@jasonkonopinski ice fishing yes knew her passion there. Bronco busting of course. Writing? Beaches? Being waited on hand and foot by her husband?

lizreusswig
3 years 2 months ago

@jasonkonopinski  gob-smacked!  love it!

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@jasonkonopinski  @HowieG Oy.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@jasonkonopinski¬†Right?! AND it became a battery charger for Mr D’s iPad so he could keep reading on the beach.

Adam | Customer Experience
3 years 2 months ago

What works for me… exactly that. Something about looking out over the ocean while writing just inspires. The good thing is here in FL, we can actually just drive to the coast. I’ve done it a couple of times but this is a good reminder to do it more.

bdorman264
3 years 2 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience Yes, we know how to find the beach, huh?

Adam | Customer Experience
3 years 2 months ago

@bdorman264¬†and the bar…

HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience my old friend jetpacks actually prefers inland so he can have coffee with his pet http://wheresmyjetpack.blogspot.com/2010/04/welcome-to-jungle-or-coffee-with-gator.html

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience¬†You should do it more! It’s great inspiration.

bdorman264
3 years 2 months ago

Free booze? I’m in……..
 
Good info because you certainly have to plan for it AND find the time to write. However, without the planning it becomes too easy to put off to later I suppose. 
 
I can drive 45 minutes and get that same view BTW but I still haven’t found anybody to wait on me hand and foot……….

HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@bdorman264 you live 45 mins from the beach? I thought your mansion was on the beach with dock for your yacht.
 
I lived 17 years by the beach. Half that walking distance. Half within a 15 min bike or 5 min drive

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@bdorman264¬†You definitely have to plan. Because I am already into the writing, it was easier. If I’d had to get things organized, too, I wouldn’t have gotten as much done.

belllindsay
belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

What’s hilarious is that I am now getting my payback for taunting you with all those snow pictures. I HATE SNOW! And we have tons of it. You love snow, and you’re on a warm beach in the sunshine. Where I would give my right arm to be. Consider me duly slapped-down. Hope you had a ball!!

HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@belllindsay you hate snow but live in Canada?

belllindsay
belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

@HowieG¬†I really didn’t have a choice in the matter Howie! ūüėČ

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@belllindsay What you need to remember, is payback is always a female dog.

Justjeffpls
Justjeffpls
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Motivation n the face of adversity!

lizreusswig
3 years 2 months ago

I think the title of this post should be, “Well, If I Can’t Ski I’ll Just Work In Paradise”

HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@lizreusswig actually she was kidnappped by book writing Somali Pirates who got lost at sea

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@lizreusswig¬†And really…what’s wrong with that?

lizreusswig
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Absolutely nothing! :)

lauraclick
3 years 2 months ago
So, you’re writing while ON the beach? Do you have an anti-glare screen? I always want to take my laptop outside, but can’t ever do it because I can’t see a darn thing. That, and if it’s too hot, I get headaches trying to write. ¬† On another note, Garth and I were never really beach people either. We’d rather DO stuff. But, there is something completely restorative about going an all-inclusive and not have to think about where to go, what to do or any of that. It’s not something you want to do for more than a few… Read more »
HowieG
HowieG
3 years 2 months ago

@lauraclick she was dictating to her Cabana Boy who was a cute dreadlocked servant named Kelly

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@lauraclick¬†I thought it would be too hot and I’d have to sit by the pool under an umbrella. Turns out neither that nor the screen were a problem. And I agree with you…we were gone three nights and two days and it was the perfect amount of time.

JackVincent
JackVincent
3 years 2 months ago
Weird person that I am, I found that I could NOT write the first draft of my book at my desk, on my laptop. ¬†(Second and subsequent drafts, yes.) ¬† What really made the difference was this: ¬†I started my book outline with the chapter titles or chapter concepts. ¬†I listed them in approximate order. ¬†I then inserted page breaks between each one, so that I essentially had chapter titles/concepts at the top of each (otherwise) empty page. ¬† ¬† I then printed each page out, again, with the chapter title/concept at the top. ¬† Then, whenever I could dedicate… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@JackVincent¬†Whoa. There is no way I could do that. It would take me twice as long! Didn’t it take forever??

JackVincent
JackVincent
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich¬†:-) I was going nowhere the other way, so I guess “forever” was shorter.¬†
 
I suggested this to several other writers with writer’s block (or non-start), and two of them said that it worked. ¬†Others thought I was crazy… but I already knew that.

dwaynealicie
3 years 2 months ago

Oh no … That Beach Boys song … (!)
It’s the distractions that always threaten to derail me. This occurs for me with reading as well. I need a sensory deprivation chamber or an empty meadow sometimes.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@dwaynealicie HAHAH! I totally was signing that on the flight down. LOL! You know what I do with reading, particularly on my iPad? Put it in airplane mode. That way there are no distractions.

samfiorella
3 years 2 months ago

8,000 words of a book in a weekend? Now you’re just teasing. And being mean.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@samfiorella¬†I did! I’m super proud of myself. And there were zero distractions. The biggest decision I had to make was which fruity drink I wanted.

stevenmcoyle
3 years 2 months ago

I have to listen to something smooth and relaxing such as Cold Play. Once I’m in the the groove of¬†writing¬†I can pretty much stay focused.
 
8,000 words is insane and impressive. How is your editing process? Do you edit after every chapter or wait until the entire thing is complete?

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@stevenmcoyle¬†Oh I have an editor. That’s the thing I learned on the first book…no need to edit while you write.

Steveology
Steveology
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich A blog post about writing … coming to you from Jamaica? Ouch. You really like to rub it in. :-)

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Thank you, mon. Are you writing a book? I’m planning/researching my second. :-)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@LauriRottmayer I am! Spin Sucks…due out in November. What’s yours on??

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Awesome! Pageants, of course, but fiction this time. :-)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@LauriRottmayer Love it! Fiction is so much harder, I’ve found.

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich I’m scared but I have the story. Researching details right now. :-)

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich My problem is I don’t believe there is anything I can’t do if I want to. :-)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@LauriRottmayer THAT is an awesome “problem” to have!

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Perhaps. ūüėČ #orobnoxious

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Sent you a DM. :-)

Steveology
Steveology
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich However, I do know you are on your back to the land of cold and no fruity drinks!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@Steveology I really do like to rub it in. Vacation like that is so uncharacteristic of me. But yeah…I’m back to the cold.

profkrg
profkrg
3 years 2 months ago
I set goals of sections or parts when I’m working on my dissertation. It’s not so much about the number of words, but finishing the purpose statement or completing the professionalism section of the intro. This helps me know what I need to do on any given day. Now doing it… that’s a whole different issue. The best thing I’ve done for myself is to recognize that I am more focused in the morning. Therefore, I try to complete my more daunting tasks first thing. My mind tends to wander in the afternoons, so that’s a better time for responding… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@profkrg¬†I’ve found, when I do that, it takes me a lot longer to get finished. If I set a goal for number of words in an allotted amount of time (for instance, 2000 words in two hours), I get it done. But if I said, “I’m going to write this chapter today,” I’d find 16,000 other things to do while I wrote it and it would take me all day. That said, I’m totally with you on the morning writing/thinking. After 2 p.m., my brain is slush.

polleydan
3 years 2 months ago

I like the set goal. One thing I am trying to do more this year is write fiction. I haven’t done so for various (good) reasons, but I plan to start soon.
 
My plan: Set aside a certain time each day or week to write. I will have to co-op the setting a goal and turning off all other distractions. Writing should be the only thing I do during those time periods.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@polleydan¬†If you don’t start before November, you really should check out NaNoWriMo. It will motivate you in a hurry to get those 50,000 words written in one month!

polleydan
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich¬†Oh, I’ve done NaNoWriMo a few times. Two completed (very bad) novels, another three or four years of partial writing.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@polleydan¬†GET ‘ER DONE, DAN!

bradmarley
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t usually write large bodies of work (unless, of course, I’m failing in my NaNoWriMo quest – remember that?). But I find that when I do any type of writing that goes above and beyond a short blog post, the best tactic is to set a time limit wherein I can’t get up until that time is up. It might not produce the most compelling text, but it’s a start.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@bradmarley¬†Oh I remember! LOL! I like the time limit, too. Particularly when I’m writing at home during the week. I’ll give myself from 6-7 a.m. and that’s it. I find it works really well.

bradmarley
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Then, once you set the time limit, it just boils down to willpower, of which I have none. *sigh*

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@bradmarley¬†I’ll bet you do!

bradmarley
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich But I just started watching Game of Thrones. And, right now, Game of Thrones > everything else in my life.

KevinVandever
KevinVandever
3 years 2 months ago
I told a friend I was writing a book and she said “Cool! Break a leg!” So I did. I wrote most of my first book while recovering from ankle surgery, a few of the chapters while on Vicodin. I was in bed all day with no tv, no internet (before it really took off), and no social media (way before SM existed). Nothing to do but to write, and write colorfully in a few spots. I recommend it. Sure, it hurts like hell to have surgery, but it might not be much more difficult than to sit on the… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@KevinVandever Um, why did you have ankle surgery?

KevinVandever
KevinVandever
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich So I could make time to write. Duh!
Basketball. I messed my ankle up over the years and finally needed to have ligaments mended and reattached to the bone.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@KevinVandever¬† Oh so you didn’t gloriously hurt it like having a TV fall on it during a satellite media tour (I mean, what?). Did you decide to have the surgery so you COULD write your book?

KevinVandever
KevinVandever
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich No, nothing glorious like a TV accident while on tour. Next time, though. Yes, it was probably the best move as I was behind and the publisher was getting nervous.

wagnerwrites
wagnerwrites
3 years 2 months ago

@KevinVandever¬†I haven’t met anyone with a similar experience until now. I broke BOTH my legs just as I needed to start a very long assignment – essentially a book – for a local nonprofit. It was hard writing on the Vicodin but after that was over, it went smoothly from my special bed set up in the living room (couldn’t go upstairs). However, I don’t recommend it or the vacation set up. I just go to the quiet student study carrals (sp?) at the university library, where there is no wifi for us non-students.

KevinVandever
KevinVandever
3 years 2 months ago

@wagnerwrites¬†Wow. Both legs. You don’t mess around. Not sure I want to venture there. You must really wanted to write.

wagnerwrites
wagnerwrites
3 years 2 months ago

@KevinVandever It was a stupid accident but the book turned out really well and I got a new laptop as a sympathy present.

barrettrossie
3 years 2 months ago

So THAT’S why you weren’t returning my calls??
 
Good for you Gini. I could get so much more work in Haena or Hanalei than in Spokane… I ought to just move there.

KensViews
3 years 2 months ago

@barrettrossie¬† Oh don’t get me started on Ms. Dietrich and her apparent unwillingness to return calls, even though said calls might change her life! That said, it’s nice to be called out on Spin Sucks for calling out Gini for misbehavior!

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@KensViews¬†¬†@barrettrossie¬†Oh Ken. He didn’t call me. He’s just teasing. I had only two VMs when I got back to the States. One from Massage Envy and one from a new business prospect.

KensViews
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich¬†¬†@barrettrossie I guess you’re not including the VMs you hadn’t returned BEFORE your Jamaica boondoggle! (Don’t make me pull this car over!)

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@KensViews¬† Someday, Ken, you’ll take the hint.

KensViews
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Your reply was caught in my Spam filter. Well done SpamExperts!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@LauriRottmayer Just saw your LI invite – will get in there soon!

LauriRottmayer
LauriRottmayer
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Okee dokee. :-)

Guru_Franchise
Guru_Franchise
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Thanks for sharing, Gini. I am going to print this out and put it above my desk!

MacLeanHeather
MacLeanHeather
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Great post. I had to fight the distractions to get through it though :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@MacLeanHeather LOL!!

MacLeanHeather
MacLeanHeather
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich I thought you would get a kick out of that. :)

Matt_Cerms
3 years 2 months ago

Top of the afternoon, Gini! Very jealous of the warm weather.
 
Turning off the wifi access is key. I usually get large amounts of writing done when I travel. Especially when I’m on the train because of the lack of wifi. No wifi plus a great playlist of tunes usually does it for me. I need the music especially when I’m writing something personal. Inspiration has to come from somewhere, right?

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@Matt_Cerms¬†Mr. D kept wanting to go to the side of the resort that had music. So I’m sure he’d agree!

trackback

[…] read Gini Dietrich‚Äôs SpinSucks blog and found a lot of really interesting stories, from tips for writing large bodies of work to refreshing one‚Äôs thinking about PR.¬† I gravitated toward this one because in my line of work, […]

ltcassociates
ltcassociates
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich I’m about to write for awhile tonight using my new “best friend” http://t.co/Fv9wzlkK All the hepcats are using it ; )

bloomerbride
bloomerbride
3 years 2 months ago

@traceydanner Thanks, Tracey!

trackback

[…] Site Blacklisted for Duplicate Content Gini Dietrich | Email | No Comments I mentioned yesterday I’m reading Andy Crestodina’s “Content […]

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

Definitely shutting off all distractions and getting it done first thing in the morning helps me…and I just discovered this a week ago! It feels great and i¬†don’t’ have that lingering though “Aw man, I still need to do my writing today” at 4pm in the afternoon.

KensViews
3 years 2 months ago

@yvettepistorio That’s a huge learning for many professionals, and is a useful tip to be more productive in any endeavor, not just writing books.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@KensViews¬†¬†@yvettepistorio¬†Yvette, you could go ahead and admit whose brilliant idea it was for you to do that…perhaps THEN Ken will stop giving me a hard time.

KensViews
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich¬†¬†@yvettepistorio¬† Now we all know that I’m not going to stop giving you hard time until: 1) I get my belated 2012 Arment Dietrich Holiday Card; 2) You return my birthday call; 3) You return my pre-President’s Day call. (And will probably keep giving you hard time thereafter!)¬† Am I wrong, @Lindsay Bell Wheeler?

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

@KensViews¬†¬†@ginidietrich¬†¬†@Lindsay¬†It was Gini’s idea…she’s a genius and it’s worked like a charm.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@yvettepistorio  @KensViews  Bwahaahahah!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich
3 years 2 months ago

It seems like a zillion years ago that I was in Jamaica.

Ron Smith
Ron Smith
3 years 2 months ago

Alcohol

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 2 months ago

Didn’t some fine gentleman try to sell you some of Jamaica’s national treasure? The coffee is amazing, right? ūüėČ

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@rdopping¬†We managed to avoid the national treasure …and I don’t drink coffee. So there you go.

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich you are definitely no fun!

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@rdopping¬†Now you know why I wasn’t popular in high school.

dbvickery
3 years 2 months ago

Hmm…things that stick out to me here:
 
– all inclusive resort (we are actually trying to plan a trip later this year)
– Write drunk, edit sober (always liked that quote…and nope, I do not write drunk)
– Keyboard condom…practice safe writing, my friends.
 
When we go to an all-inclusive we generally read a lot, overeat at the great restaurants, become overly acquainted with the swim-up bar, and play tennis and workout. Yep…we actually workout on vacations (so we can over-indulge on that food).

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@dbvickery¬†We like to work out, too. It’s part of our DNA. But the food – for a vegetarian – at this resort was not great so I probably didn’t need to work out.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@AmeliaJL What tips do you have for getting lots of writing done?

AmeliaJL
AmeliaJL
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich I’m old school-I start w/ a written plan/list of goals to check off as I go. Otherwise, much the same as the blog post

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@AmeliaJL I like the written plan…very smart.

AmeliaJL
AmeliaJL
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Here’s another trick/self-imposed deadline: go batttery power. I put down 3,000 words last night in 2.5 hours. #happywriting

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@AmeliaJL Holy moley! That’s some serious concentration!

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich @AmeliaJL LOL, “Holy moley”? That’s like “okidokey” or “uposydaisy” !!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene It’s more exciting than okidokey!

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich We all love excitement , don’t we? ūüėČ

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene We do!

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich and what’s up, beside weekend I mean ?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene That and writing my next book and that’s about it. What about you? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Me ? sleeping? that would be wasting time, wouldn’t it? starting new company – with my son! Thats a weekend start!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene You are!? Do you have a URL yet?

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich VERY soon…. if you want… you might have a helpful test URL… to friendly find bugs…

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene I would be happy to help!

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich …and by that get the idea from the inside first ūüėČ

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Wow! yes… next week =?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene Perfect!

gstene
gstene
3 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich lets talk… and I’ll let you into it… its all about letting people be at heir best… improving the world *S*

AmeliaJL
AmeliaJL
3 years 2 months ago

@gstene @ginidietrich All good fun! Back on the grid-SUPER productive weekend!

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