As a writer, balancing your writing time and other aspects of your life can take a toll on you. Do you often ask yourself these questions?
- How can I re-order my schedule to find more time to write?
- How can I practice flexibility in my writing journey?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then these productivity tips are just for you. First of, if you are struggling to fill the pages with words so fast and not feel overwhelmed with other activities then I want you to STOP✋ and analyze your priorities.
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Productivity Tips For Writers
1. Make Out Time To Write
How many times have you said these statements?
- I don’t have time to write.
- I would be a great author if only I had time to write.
You would know that not me, the truth is there will never be enough time. If writing is important to you, you will make out time to write. Look at it this way, you have some activities you must do or face the risk of not doing it. Immediately you wake up in the morning, you feel the urge to use the toilet if you don’t, you may pee on yourself, you will not face the risk of messing yourself up, so you rush to the toilet as soon as you can, right?
The same goes for your writing, some activities are of higher priority because of its high risk, you automatically have time for such activities, so if writing is of great importance to you, make it a top priority, say to yourself if I don’t write, I will face the risk of this or that. You know the risk you stand to face when you don’t write, as for me I feel great when I write, so when I don’t write I face the risk of not feeling so great for that day but I know how to recognize the signs of burn out which I will talk about later on. So make out time in your schedule for writing, carve out a particular time where you sit down and just write.
“There will never be enough time”
2. Discover Your Creative Process
Like a baby learning to walk, she takes a few steps and falls, she stands up again to give it another trial, she doesn’t sit down and decide not to try because she fell. So, discovering your writing process will not happen overnight, you have to experiment with different things to discover it. When I decided to take my writing seriously, I didn’t know about prepping before I write until later, now I prep before I write and It has helped my writing tremendously, don’t copy anyone’s writing style that will be the first step to disaster, you can take inspiration from them but use your unique process. Just be you😉.
3. Establish A Routine
A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. Having a rock-solid writing routine can save you a lot of time and increase your ROI (return on investment). There are several steps to building a writing routine that will work for you and I am going to share a few with you.
Writers are big procrastinators but here is a huge tip that can help you overcome procrastination in your writing: The use of the Pomodoro technique, it is a time management technique that increases your productivity and enables you to complete your writing tasks efficiently.
The Procedure Is Simple;
- Choose one writing task to do at a time.
- Time yourself to carry out the task for 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer goes off.
- Take a short break of 3-5 minutes.
- Continue the task after setting the timer again.
- Take a longer break after each ring than the previous one.
Create Writing Goals
When you set a goal, you’re simply giving yourself something to aim at, a target to hit. That target can be big or small. Create one writing goal at a time and stay focused on achieving it. This will give you a sense of direction 😎😊.
Setting a goal requires some key traits;
- Clarity: Clarity is the most important concept in personal productivity, you have to be crispy clear about your writing objectives, this will help you not to deviate from them. To achieve this, decide exactly what you want in your writing, afterwards write it down.
- Goal Setting: Goal setting is another powerful tool in achieving your writing ambitions, so use it to move your project forward, you cannot go wrong with goal setting, so start now.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your writing behaviour helps you experiment with things. It helps you test different things. It also helps you manage your time efficiently. This is also a great way to get motivated while writing your book or novel. To get started, firstly get a calendar (paper calender/online calendar) or a journal (a physical notebook/note apps & software)This is after you have set a feasible goal, secondly track all your productive writing times, habits and the frequency of your writing for a week(start small). You could choose to track your word count or the length of time you spend writing.
After the first week of tracking, analyze your writing progress and assess how you are doing. How exciting 😋. Some patterns have begun to emerge here. After doing this for a while, it is okay to modify your writing goals as you go along. Tracking your writing is super useful in giving you the motivation to continue, so try it.
4. Observe Your Surrounding
Your writing space is very important to your writing, as it can influence your writing habits with time. Some persons like to write in quiet places while some people don’t mind a little background noise, now if you find yourself in an environment that is always noisy and you prefer to write in a quiet place, change your writing space as this will affect how often you can sit and write. First, evaluate the things in your environment that hinder your writing progress and remove them but if it’s something you have no control of, like a noisy neighbour or you live close to a children’s park, decide next to seek out a new writing space.
5. Plan Your Writing
In Brian Tracy’s book, “ Eat That Frog”, he says to plan every day in advance. This means to think on paper. Planning is very rewarding amongst other productivity tips for writers. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution. Planning your entire day is great, but I am focusing on writing here. When you create your writing routine, you will know your writing days, Plan your writing a day before your writing days. If this is new to you, try it for a few days or a week and see what pattern best suits you.
6. Take A Break
Rome was not built in a day, neither can you write a full book in one day, tho it’s not impossible. Take a break when you notice signs of burnout, don’t push yourself to the wall, learn to recognize the signs of burnout, Having burnout is not good for your creative process. Personally, when I experience burnout, I take at least a week to come back to my creative flow, so to avoid that I take breaks in between because burnout is not my friend 😁.
7. Defy The Writing Page
Sometimes you start writing a sentence and you get stuck with no words, you feel like you have hit a brick wall, don’t stop altogether, if you can’t write the first sentence, write the second sentence and go back to the first when you can come up with the words that will align with the second sentence.
8. Avoid Negative Spaces
This is more about your mental health than your physical writing but a healthy & positive mind will more likely create better writing than a negative mind. Negative spaces are all around you, from the news to social media to blogs and magazines. When you scroll through the feeds of Instagram or Twitter, if you come across anything that will poison your mind and make you feel negative, kindly unfollow such page for your mental well being. Avoid spaces that make you compare your progress with other like minds, avoid contents that make you feel negative and uninspired about yourself.
9. Be Ruthless
I personally like this one, cut or limit things that fill your schedule but give you a low ROI( return on investment ), a good example is the use of social media even tho social media helps you communicate with your friends and family, there should be a line where you draw in spending time on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even binge-watching on Netflix. You can’t cut out social media completely from your daily life but I advise you to hop on social media only after you have ticked off everything on your daily to-do list.
10. Find Balance
Have you been wondering how to balance your writing process and other aspects of your life? If yes, keep reading. The first step in finding your balance is to ask yourself these questions.
- What aspects of my life matter most to me?
- What do I find nourishing, when I feel drained physically, mentally or emotionally?
- How can I practice flexibility in my writing journey?
When you answer all these questions, afterwards write it down in your notebook to come back to in the future. Now you know what is at the top of your priority and what makes you happy or satisfied, figure out how to balance both activities in a way that no one is lacking your time and attention.
Outlining may not be your favourite process, but it saves a lot of time, don’t believe me? Keep reading, Outlining is the process of writing the main points or topic of a given subject. So, this is the summary of your main points to guide you as you write. There are several ways to outline and you can use whatever method that fits your creative process, and would you believe, It also helps you overcome writer’s block? 😳. Check this out to get started.
12. Prep Before You Write
This is a tip that I have tried and I can say it works before you begin writing, observe a prep time to get your mind into your creative space to start writing. There is no special way to prep but let me share with you my personal prepping activities.
- I open my writing software.
- I get my pen and notebook beside me.
- I read the last page I wrote and take note of ideas to advance my plot.
- I arrange these ideas in a sequence in bullet points, afterwards, I get writing.
Note: These ideas are not fixed, If I get an idea as I write that requires I change somethings, I change them.
13. Kill Distractions
Distractions take you off your A-game, so before you start writing disable anything that will turn your focus elsewhere, A few distractions to take note of;
- Notifications from social media or email.
- Incoming calls or text messages.
- Loud noises in your environment.
- Family and friends seeking your attention.
Before you start writing, ensure all these distractions are taken care of, if there is noise in the background that you can’t take care off, change your scenery, go to a quiet place and get writing.
14. Time Your Writing
Timing your writing is very important amongst other productivity tips for writers, It helps you to stay focused on writing for a particular time until the timer goes off, as it is well known, writers are big-time procrastinators but when you tell yourself, I will write for 30 minutes, it sends a signal to your brain that will help you achieve your goal until the 30 minutes is over.
15. Put Passion First
This is for published authors, but even as a new or established writer, It may be useful to you. Don’t lose focus on while you love writing, don’t get carried away with a thousand things after you have published a few books, so focus on quality over quantity, Let your passion lead you.
And lastly, good time management is like a muscle that needs to be trained, so keep experimenting with different things because practice makes perfect. I hope you found all these productivity tips for writers useful? If you did, please share with me in the comments section, Do you have any tip that I didn’t mention?