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5 ways to be a more productive writer

21 June 2018

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If you struggle to complete your daily writing duties, or find that looming deadlines tempt your to run in the opposite direction, the joy of writing will quickly evaporate.

Thankfully, there’s an answer, and by streamlining your creative process, you’ll think more clearly, utilise your time more wisely and, most importantly, become a focused writer.

Here’s how to do just that:

1. Write at a time that suits you best

Some of us are blessed with the ability to leap out of bed every day and start writing almost immediately.

Some of us need huge amounts of coffee before we can even look at our laptops.

You may even find that you need to get the bare bones of the daily grind out of the way before you can put your mind to your next literary creation.

The key to writing well is writing when you are feeling at your most relaxed and creative. If you work better in the morning, afternoon or evening, schedule the rest of your day around you dedicated writing time, rather than just trying to squeeze in the odd chapter between daily chores.

Setting dedicated writing times means you can still apply the same number of hours to your work, but instead of aimlessly typing as and when you can, you’ll be far more focused and ready to go.

2. Find your happy place

Writing hunched over your laptop on the corner of the couch is not the most conducive way to create your next masterpiece.

Dedicate an area of your home to writing. This helps create boundaries, and having a defined space in which you work will put you in the right frame of mind before you put pen to paper.

Whether you convert the shed into an office, stick a desk under the stairs or make use of the space in your spare bedroom, choose somewhere that is quiet, calm and free from distractions.

3. Attack it with the right mindset

If we all waited until we were in the right mood to get writing, we’d never get anything done.

Training your brain to approach writing as a daily task that must be completed will help you commit to writing more.

Set a writing goal for every day; that could be a certain number of words or the promise to set aside a specific number of hours for writing – just make sure you stick to it religiously.

Clear your mind of other unwanted day-to-day noise and immerse yourself entirely in writing for a set period of time every day.

4. Give yourself a break

Every writing session should be punctuated with regular breaks.

Write for an hour, then take a ten minute break to enjoy a cup of tea, or a slightly longer break while you walk the dog.

Your working week, month and even year should also be interspersed with regular downtime to ensure the hours spent writing are as productive as possible.

Downtime gives you the break you need to refocus your mind so you can come back to the keyboard feeling refreshed and ready to get those creative juices flowing again.

5. Write because you can - not because you should

We write because it’s our passion. Knowing that you’re writing out of love and not just to pay the bills can do wonders for your motivation.

If you’re feeling downhearted, read back over your work, find the beauty in it and be proud. Often writers are far too critical of their own work, and spend hours, days and even weeks consumed by a strange self-perpetuating angst or fear of failure.

When this mood strikes, or you succumb to the dreaded writers block - just write! Don’t worry about grammar, or deadlines or character analysis - just let it flow and tidy it up later.

Are you feeling productive now? Thought so!

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