There are only so many hours in the day and only so much time each of us can dedicate to writing. Between work and school and family and a million other responsibilities and distractions, it may seem as though you’ll never complete your novel or project.
Such is the writer’s life. And yet, there’s no reason to despair. Not with the following productivity hacks guaranteed to make your writing time as efficient as possible.
Sometimes, the words just won’t come no matter how much you will them. Instead of giving up for the day, or forcing something that just isn’t right, consider putting your project aside for a few moments to do some stream-of-consciousness journaling.
Writing a page and a half to two pages of whatever pops in your mind – with the understanding what you are writing is not intended for your project or meet word count – works to free creative juices and unblock your mind. Give it a try and see for yourself.
Identify Your Most Productive Writing Time
Writing is a very personal process. What works for one writer may not work for another. The same holds true for energy levels: some people have more energy and are more productive in the morning, some the afternoon, and some in the evening.
Identifying and understanding when best to write based on energy level and then writing at that time plays a critical role in improving productivity.
To determine best time to write, jot down how you are feeling several times throughout the day for a couple of typical weeks. This will give you a picture of how your energy levels rise and fall. Use this information to adjust your daily schedule to write when you are most fresh and alert.
Address Reasons for Procrastinating
We’ve all been told the importance of having a consistent writing schedule. And yet, how many times has procrastination hijacked our schedule? More often than many of us would like to admit.
Reasons for procrastinating might include fear, exhaustion, a lack of ideas, feeling that you haven’t planned enough, or worries that you should be doing something else with your writing time.
Identifying the reasons for procrastinating and then addressing these issues will help get you back on track and ensure productive writing sessions.
Outline your story to break it down into smaller, digestible pieces to keep moving forward and not get overwhelmed or discouraged.
Shake Things Up
Sometimes we need to shake things up. Experimenting with different approaches to your writing may be just what you need to get the creative juices flowing and increase productivity. Ways to experiment includes:
- Swap up writing method. Write in longhand if you usually use a computer or vice versa.
- Voice record ideas or even parts of your novel. Cell phones often have voice recorders to accomplish this.
- Jot down passages in short intervals during a break from other activities.
- Work from a new location or setting.
- Write scenes out of order, or write the final pages of your book first.
- Track writing goals such as word count or number of pages to give yourself a little boost.
- Write in short, timed bursts as detailed in “The 8-Minute Writing Habit”, by Monica Leonelle.
- End each day’s writing session with the first few sentences or paragraphs of the next day’s session. This approach ensures you won’t face a blank page the next day.
- Eliminate distractions. Shut off your phone and social media.
- Use music or white noise as you write to help get into the “flow.”
- Focus on what is essential in the story and eliminate what is not.
Experiment with these hacks to determine which methods improve your productivity and keep your future award-winner moving forward!