In order to minimise the distractions, I set myself specific times for writing. As I am a morning person I like to write from ten until two, four hours a day minimum. This leaves me a couple of hours beforehand to check emails, walk the dogs and get any other little jobs out of the way. If things are going well, or sometimes if they are going badly, I also work for a couple of hours in the late afternoon; this is when I review what I have written, checking punctuation, grammar, context etc. Sometimes I print out my morning's work so that I can see it on paper; it's easier to pick up the mistakes that way.
Some writers calculate their output by time: Ann Victoria Roberts, author of The Master's Tale, writes from ten until six, a full day's work; J G Harlond, author of the historical novel, The Chosen Man, has this to say about how she tackles her work:
So it all comes down to the individual and what's comfortable for you. Some people just write and write, regardless of punctuation and grammar, until they have the whole book in a draft form; then they edit it. Others, like me, like to edit as they go along. It is just a question of preference. What matters is that it is done and that the finished book fulfils your objectives.
The editing and reviewing process is very important, too important to be left to an editor. The author must remain in control of the story because only they know where the story is leading. A good editor, however, can help the writer to see the wood amongst a forest of trees, help them clarify their objectives. Here are some of the questions that writers need to ask when editing their work:
'What is the book trying to achieve?'
'Who are your readers?'
'Is the genre of the book clear? Does it sit comfortably in that genre?'
'Is the language appropriate for the designated reader?'
'Who is telling the story?'
Choose your preferred writing style and stick to it. Plan your work and make yourself a writing schedule. You will be amazed at what you can achieve.