Monday, December 14, 2015

10 Things You Need to Do to Become a Productive Writer

When you finally make the decision that you want to write for a living, you have to make changes to your daily schedule and the way you work. Creating a proper work environment and a schedule are two of the most important things any writer can do to increase her or his productivity. The rest is just common sense.

1. Designate a Workspace

Sure, you can spend time writing anywhere you like, such as on your bed, on a comfy chair in the sunroom, or at a local cafe. However, you should always have a home base for your writing.

You don’t have to have a private office. In fact, many people just don’t have the extra space in their homes for an office. What you need to do is find a place within your home or apartment where you can set up a desk and a work space. For me, that is my living room. I have a toddler that needs care and supervision, and having my work space in the family area allows me to care for her and watch over her while she plays and I write.

Bedrooms are also fine for creating a work area, and many people create a personal office in the corner of their bedrooms. If you can set up a bookcase by your work area, all the better, but the important things is that you have a desk and chair set up for you to work at.

2. Set a Writing Schedule

The second most important thing all successful and productive writers do is create a writing schedule. If you must, write out the schedule and post it somewhere that it can be seen. Treat your writing like a regular job. Show up on time and work some overtime when you can.

Make sure other people understand that you have a writing schedule that you must keep to. That means no surprise visits and tell people not to call you unless it is an emergency.

3. Remove Distractions

Distractions are a writer’s worst enemy. There’s social media crap, cell phone bleeps, and the holy internet.

Before you begin working, make sure that there will be no temptation to check your Facebook feed, Twitter blips, cell phone messages, and other annoyances. Disconnect from the internet and only turn it back on if you need to quickly look something up related to your work. Set your cell phone across the room or, if there is no possibility of an emergency call, turn it off. You don’t need it while you are working.

4. Focus on One Project at a Time

I used to have this problem: I would try and write multiple articles at once. Now I split my schedule so that for the first few hours of my shift I am working on my book and the last few hours of my shift, I am working on articles (one article at a time).

Finish the article you’ve started before you begin a new one. If you get an idea for another article while you are working, simply jot the idea down and return to what you are working on. Never allow yourself to work on more than one article at a time.

5. Read as Much as You Write

You need input to have output, and reading stimulates the mind, increases your creativity, and can give you an endless supply of book and article ideas. While I am not suggesting that if you spend 8 hours writing, you should spend 8 hours reading (although that would be a dream schedule for me). Instead, think of word counts. If you write 2,000 words a day then read at least that much in a book. On average, I read about 2 hours a day, but I usually write about 4,000 words a day. It’s an endless cycle of feeding my brain and spewing it all back out again.

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