Developing a writing process which works for you is a challenge, so experiment. Try different strategies: adapt them to your circumstances.
One of my favorite strategies, which I pass onto my students who tell me that they have no time, is batching.
A writing process to lessen stress and increase your income
Look on batching as a companion process to time blocking.
“Batching” means grouping similar tasks together on your calendar and to do list, then doing them consecutively. For example, you might batch returning calls and responding to emails.
In writing, you can batch:
- Creating blog posts/ web content;
- Developing new scenes in fiction;
- Research. Instead of researching in the middle of writing, try creating a running list of topics you need to research. Then block out time to get it done;
- Marketing tasks, like creating ads, and social media;
- Developing proposals, quotes and invoices for clients…
How does batching help you to get more done?
Task switching takes time. It also takes a change in mind state. Studies show that it takes ten to 20 minutes to get into flow for a creative task. During that mental change over, you’re easily distracted. Before you know it, you’ll decide that you’re not in the mood, and “don’t have time” to write.
When you group similar tasks together, you can open whatever apps you need while you’re on your computer: such as your contacts’ list, calendar and task lists for handling email and phone calls.
Time blocking helps too. (We’ll look at time blocking in a moment.)
Batching works for almost anything. I know a couple of writers who do all their cooking (including preparing school lunch items) on Sunday.
You can batch errands together, such as errands requiring your car. You might visit the carwash; keep a hairdressing appointment; then grocery shop.
Use time blocking when you’re batching
Time blocking means scheduling every task, large or tiny, on a calendar. I’m a huge fan of scheduling. I know that unless I schedule a specific time for it, it’s horribly simple to postpone a task.
Many writers use digital calendars; I don’t. With an app, you can adjust the time and date at a click. I use paper planners, so that when I put things off, the evidence of my procrastination is right in front of me.
Can batching and time blocking help you to double your writing output?
Batching works for my writing students and for me. Yes, you’ll easily double your output. A student who took a year to write a book wrote his second — from idea to publication — in three months. He’s happily working on his third book.
Combine batching and time blocking with journaling, to make them even more powerful.
Initially, this writing process may take a little adjustment, especially if you haven’t set goals. Start by creating goals.
Creating time-limited goals, and working backward from those goals, helps. If you’re having trouble meeting goals, use journaling. Journaling takes a few minutes a day; the effects are profound.
A popular comment: “Schedule everything? It wouldn’t work for me!”
This writing process may not work for you. However, if you’re worried that you’ll have less freedom, fear not. You’ll be amazed that not only can you be more productive, without stress, you’ll feel free, and creative. You’re giving your creativity the wonderful gift of time.
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