The process of writing is like dancing a constantly evolving Waltz. You’re always learning, improving, falling down, getting back up, and spinning. To be a writer is to be a dreamer. It is to embrace the life-altering power of words, and to spend your life stringing them together in ways that are both captivating and relevant. It’s hard work. It’s rewarding work. It’s stressful work.
When you put so much heart and effort into your product, it’s easy to become overly stressed or worried. The work you create matters. And only you can create it. So, it’s important to take care of yourself, and perform your writing in a way that honors both your creativity and your sanity. Most writers are ambitious. And while that ambition is good (and likely got you where you are today), it can also drag you down when you feel you are not performing as well as you can. These tips will guide you as you write to make your practice more productive, calm, and successful. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of your work.
1. First Research, then Write, then Edit
Many writers are perfectionists. This makes sense. Your work is your reputation. It’s understandable that you want it to be perfect. But there is a time to edit, and that time is later. It’s important to really take your time with each step of the writing process. Take the time to research your topic and find any helpful resources you might want to incorporate. Only after you’ve done the research should you begin writing. Don’t worry about mistakes or typos. Don’t try to re-work sentences that could be better. Just get the message on paper (or screen) in a clear format. Once you’re happy with the writing, you can go back and edit.
2. Get Enough Rest and Exercise Daily
It’s important to get enough sleep and exercise on a daily basis. Sleeping at least 7 or 8 hours every night will give you the energy you need to think clearly and tackle the challenges of the day. Exercise keeps you alert and focused. When you get enough sleep and exercise, you’ll be more likely to choose other healthy habits like drinking plenty of water and eating enough fruits and vegetables. Your healthiest self is your most productive self. Recognize that you need to take care of yourself in order to be successful in any job.
3. Take Short Meditation Breaks
This is especially important if you do most of your writing in front of a computer screen. You need to take some time to walk away from the material and get a fresh start when you return. During the breaks, you can walk around for ten minutes, meditate, close your eyes, or read. Try to get outside at least a few times a day. This will give you a boost of mental energy. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, a break might be what you need to gain some clarity and direction.
4. Do One Thing at a Time
You likely have more than one project on your plate. Set aside time to focus on just one thing at a time. Don’t switch back and forth between researching an article, writing a blog post, drafting an email to a publisher, and going back to the research. When you multitask, your brain never really focuses on the task at hand. And most of the time, each individual task takes longer than if you just focused on one thing at a time. This doesn’t mean you have to write your entire manuscript before you can draft the email. Just set a timer, and plan to dedicate “x” number of hours to the manuscript before you take 20 minutes to deal with emails.
5. Take Advantage of Tools
Online tools can help you be more productive by blocking out distractions, providing writing assistance, or managing your time.
- Grammarly – This personal grammar-coaching tool helps writers find and correct their mistakes.
- Anti-Social – This productivity tool will block users from social media distractions and can be used to help writers focus on the task at hand without getting side tracked.
- Essaymama – This essay writing company and service is composed of qualified professional essay writers who assist writers with any editing, research or structure issue.
- Pomodoro – This timer app and software will help writers stay on task and focused by using the Pomodoro technique. This involves set times of focused work, followed by frequent breaks.
- Writing Prompts – Writing.com now provides an app iPhone app that acts as a prompt generator (with over 600 prompts). The tool uses sketches, words, colors, genres and different types of writing to create pieces of creative inspiration.
- Write Room – Write room is a word processor that creates a distraction-free writing atmosphere.
- Writer’s Block Buster – This scenario generator and storage tool allows users to create and save all of their research and outline material.
Now that you have some ideas and tools to make your day more productive and less stressful, I sincerely hope you will put them into place in your day-to-day life. Make your office a place where your best, most productive self is able to flourish. Take care of yourself, and get ready to reap the benefits of being focused, calm, and organized.