Write Boxing

Time-boxing

Writing takes time, and time is one of our most scarce resources. Which is not to say that everything we spend time on is more important to us than the things we don’t seem to have time for. Time is scarce but often poorly allocated.

If you want to write and feel overwhelmed with the time needed, break it down into small, manageable chunks, and make sure to close the time for it in your calendar. Time-boxing means treating this activity as you would an appointment in your calendar: when it is in your calendar, you will rarely skip it.

If you set time boxes for writing in your calendar, even if only to write a couple of hundreds of words a day, you are likely to act on it, and very soon, you will experience progress. Instead of an overwhelming task, writing will turn into a habit. And, of course, the fact that it is in your calendar means the chances for scheduling conflicts that might prevent you from writing are significantly reduced.

Space-boxing

But time-boxing alone is not enough. To use the time you dedicate to writing effectively, you must feel comfortable. You must find the optimal space and tools that will allow you to write fluently and not distract you from thinking about what you write.

Is it a quiet room with a huge monitor or a small table in your local coffee shop with just a notebook? That’s for you to figure out. Experimenting with different spaces and finding the ones that work best for you to get into a flow of writing is essential. Find your writing capsule.

When you find a suitable space to engage in writing, stick to it. Making it part of the habit will help you write more naturally and write more.

Attention-boxing

If you have already saved time and found the perfect place for writing, the last thing you would want is to be interrupted. Your goal is to be immersed in writing for whatever time you’ve set. To do that, you should actively shield your attention and prevent as many potential distractions from penetrating your space.

The simplest (but not trivial) thing to do is kill all digital notifications. When I use my favorite writing app, my Mac automatically enters a predefined Focus Mode, blocking all intrusive notifications apart from calendar events. My choice of configuration is, of course, personal, but the point is that I did something proactively to be less distracted and to focus as much attention as possible on the writing experience.

Find your preferred setup and tools to allow you to be focused on one thing and one thing only: whatever you are currently writing.

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