Our blog posts are generally about the art of writing, but it would be remiss not to write anything about the necessary discipline. Part of it is routine: if you can run to a schedule, so much the better. The topic of this post, however, is how to use whatever time you do set aside effectively.

1. Be prepared

Before you start writing, whether you intend to write an essay or a book, you should have a plan. If you need to include a bibliography, create one at the onset - while you will need to update it as your range of sources expands, you can at least save yourself some distraction over the course of writing your non-fiction piece if you compile as many relevant sources as you can, with full bibliographic details, before you start writing.

2. Make yourself comfortable

You can save yourself a lot of discomfort, short- and long-term, by sitting as straight as possible. For this reason, I tend to advise against office chairs in favour of simple wooden ones, but I leave this to personal preference. Opt for a desk with a roll-out tray for your keyboard, so that your shoulders can be relaxed as you work. Keep a jug of water handy, and maybe a cup of tea or coffee. Stretch regularly - which brings us to our next point. 

3. Take hourly breaks

If you work for hours at a time, you are likely to see diminishing returns on your effort and mounting discomfort. If time constraints allow, I recommend dividing each hour into 50 minutes of work and a 10 minute break. This will enable you to stretch, refill your drinks, and let ideas percolate.