How’s your Christmas shopping coming along? That slow, huh? At this time of the year, chances are you’re not getting much (if any) writing done. So, you’ve decided to make a New Year’s resolution that you’ll WRITE MORE in 2017.
How to write more: organization and preparation is everything
Sadly, we creatives are not the most organized people in the world, BUT we’re extremely organized with everything we need for our writing.
You’d laugh if you could see my office. Books and papers everywhere, but everything I need for my current projects is right where I need it to be.
Get ready for 2017 now. Set up your writing space the way you want it. Investigate getting a second monitor; it helps many writers to be more productive. Get a comfortable chair, and a white board or two.
Take time to prepare your projects. I like to write a short description (a project brief) before I start, even if the project is something I’m doing for myself, rather than a client. Next, make a list of what you need: information from your client, research you need to do, people you need to contact.
Schedule each project: create a deadline for yourself which is a few days before your “real” deadline. This ensures that you build in some wiggle-room for yourself. Wiggle room is essential, because Murphy’s Law applies — everything takes longer than you think it will.
Now, the tips…
1. Writing more is a habit YOU can develop easily, starting today
Today’s Facebook writing tip was to stop thinking, and WRITE. My writing students always start out their coaching with 1001 questions. (OK, hyperbole, but they do have LOTS of questions.) 99.99% of the questions are irrelevant, because they’re hypothetical, or historical. They’re “what happens if…” and “yes, but this happened when I…”
Try this. Grab a sticky note, and write on it: “What do I need to write, right now?” Paste it where you’ll see it. Create several copies of the note, and stick the stickies where you’ll see them when you’re “thinking” rather than writing. I have a sticky with “What do I need to write, right now?” on the inside cover of my iPad, because my favorite thinking/ goofing-off activity is reading on the Kindle app.
You can write anything you like during your writing sessions. You don’t have to work on a current project. You may be procrastinating on a project for a reason. For example, I haven’t worked on my current novel for ten days. But I nevertheless write. In the time I schedule for writing my own fiction each day, I’ve written two short stories, and done three brainstorming sessions, trying to develop a “high concept” novel idea.
Regarding procrastinating on a project. This can happen because you’re not seeing something important about the project. Allow yourself gestation time. Sooner or later you’ll get the impulse to work on the project again. When you do, you’ll have fresh insights and the project will move forward. Sometimes, procrastination is just a time-out which a project needs.
2. Discover the power of writing exercises to boost your productivity
Do you do writing exercises?
Exercises can be powerfully effective to not only boost your skills, but also to make you more productive so that you write more. I do writing exercises every day, because I’ve found that exercises boost my creativity and help me to write more. They may work for you, too.
Two books with my favorite writing exercises: use them to build your writing muscles, and get more and better ideas
3. Batch everything: batch-creation helps you to write more by saving your time
“Batching” is doing similar tasks together. Batching your tasks saves time, and energy too. Some batching sessions can be daily: making phone calls in one session, or answering emails in one session. Other batching processes can occur every few days: creating social media content, outlining blog posts, creating and sending out invoices.
Additionally, you can batch your writing sessions. I like to keep an index card for each current project. I batch all my fiction, scheduling it first thing in the morning. I batch nonfiction too, as well as writing blog posts.
Try batching. You’ll save time every week: spend the time writing more.
The secret to writing more: one word
There’s a one-word secret to writing more, and it’s this: HABIT.
In 2017, commit to building productive writing habits.
Every habit takes time to develop. Once you’ve build a habit, you don’t need to think about the habit. Writing more, once it’s a habit, is self-perpetuating. You’ll find yourself looking for ways to increase your productivity automatically.
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