Who knows more about procrastination than writers? Luckily, there are ways to boost your productivity without sacrificing creativity, quality or passion. Here are 7 writing tips that efficient writers use to keep their work on track.
- Write a Set Amount Each Day: The greats do it, including Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King. Hemingway wrote 500 words a day and King writes at least 10 pages, making him one of the most prolific authors around. If you set yourself a doable daily goal and stick to it, you might be surprised at your output over the course of a month or two.
- Write in the Morning: A lot of people hate getting up early, but if you make writing the first thing you do every day, you will quickly develop a routine. Not only will you deliver your work when your mind is at its freshest, but you will also find that you can relax later on in the day; knowing with satisfaction that you have already done a healthy amount of work. Combined with #1, this habit will kick-start your day on a positive and efficient note.
- Keep Your Writing Time For Writing: As you write, other obligations, ideas and random thoughts will come into your head. Instead of getting up to pay that bill or make that call, keep a notepad beside your writing area and jot down whatever things you will have to think about later. Your writing time is for writing; those other things can wait.
- Don’t Stare Out the Window: Writers love to find distractions for themselves that they can blame for a lack of output. Face away from windows and stay away from other people in your household. Turn off TVs, radio and even your computer’s Internet connection. Keep enough pens or pre-sharpened pencils on hand. Go to the bathroom before you start for the day. The more you limit your physical distractions, the more freedom you grant to the world inside your head, whether you’re working on fiction or non-fiction.
- Develop Your Typing Skills: When you’re not working on an actual piece of writing, try practicing typing tests. The Internet is rife with tools to improve your speed and accuracy, and the better you get, the easier it will be to keep your flow going. Computers can be the bane of some non-techies’ existence, but if you conquer the keyboard and use #3 to enhance your typing, then it should become a non-issue so that you can focus on the important part of your work.
- Get a Writing Partner: From academics to bloggers, having someone to keep you accountable makes a huge difference in your effectiveness. The key is to find someone who is also working on a project. In this way, you can trade your work and get feedback, all the while meeting your time goals, because you know they are expecting something from you. Just make sure you partner up with someone who takes their (and your) writing as seriously as you do.
- Use Keyboard Shortcuts: Nowadays, the vast majority of writers use computers, although many still prefer to write their first draft by hand. However, at some point, you are going to find yourself needing to type up your work and keyboard shortcuts will help you save, copy/paste and perform other menial tasks without interrupting the flow of thought or the movement of your fingers on the keys. Once you’ve memorized the main shortcuts, you will find that the technical side of the computer won’t get in the way of your writing experience. Download KeyRocket for shortcut recommendations as you write; it does this work for you, so that you can keep your mind free for the creative stuff.