5 Reasons Your Writing Sessions Aren't Working

You open up your laptop or notebook and sit down to write for a while. You have time, you have motivation, you're feeling good . . . aaaaand an hour later you've written like 16 words. Maybe.
Ever been there? I know I have!
There is nothing more frustrating than feeling ready to write but writing a few to no words. It's tiring, discouraging, and downright annoying. So, I decided to analyze a few of my failed writing sessions to see if there were any factors they had in common. And there definitely were.

1. I didn't have a plan for the scene

I'm a huge plotter, meaning in order to write my books I need to know what happens in each chapter. Sometimes, though, I'll get the idea in my head that if I just dedicate some time to write and open my laptop, I'll figure things out as I go.
And I'm almost always wrong.
I have to know what is going to happen in a scene before I write it or else the scene ends up feeling unorganized, flat, and just . . . blah.

2. I didn't have a writing goal

I hold myself to ridiculous standards, so unless I give myself a reachable goal, I will either feel too unmotivated to write or I'll count the writing I did do as not enough, or a fail. To combat that, I've started challenging myself to hit small goals when I write--but not small enough that I don't make progress. I.E. I try to hit anywhere from 500-1000 words in a session, and if I do that, I feel accomplished and ready to keep writing.

3. I had too many distractions

Distractions can come in many forms! A few of them are:
- the door is open
- people keep interrupting me to ask me questions
- my phone is nearby and isn't silenced
- a TV is on
- The music I'm listening to has lyrics
- there is food nearby

If I'm too distracted, I won't get anything done! So in order to have a successful writing session, I try to minimize as many distractions as possible: close my door, tell people I'm writing, put my phone away, turn off noise, wear headphones, etc.

4. I didn't listen to anything

I have to listen to something when I write, and when I tell myself I don't need to, I often don't end up writing much. Not listening to something tends to give my brain a chance to pick up on any and every sound nearby--whether it's a dog barking, a car driving, people talking, etc. These all become distractions that hinder my writing.
Instead, I put on headphones and either listen to white noise, rain, or instrumental music. Music with lyrics tens to distract me just as much as a tv does, so I ten to only listen to it when I specifically want to brainstorm or plot and not write.

5. I didn't have coffee 😱 (or any drink, really)

I LOVE drinking coffee or tea while I write because both really help me get into the writing mood. If I don't have coffee or water or something to drink, I usually hyper-focus on being thirsty or desiring coffee which, again, distracts me and I end up not writing much!

Every writer writes differently. Some of you may struggle with some or all of the things I listed above, and others may not. Overall, if you've found yourself struggling with your writing sessions, try to pinpoint what things are hindering you from writing!
Now that I've looked at my past writing sessions and found the common issues, I've been really productive with my writing! I'm currently working on the first few chapters of my WIP and rewriting them to help my characters sound more like themselves. It's only been a few weeks and already I'm nearly finished!

What struggles do you tend to have during writing sessions? How can you fix those issues?