Very few writers/bloggers/authors are lucky enough to be able to write full time: many have day jobs, or have kids, or other responsibilities, and have to simply fit their writing in when they can. I, for example, have recently quit my second part time job and have gone full time at my first, meaning I have considerably less time to devote to my writing. Therefore, when I do write, I like to get the most done in that time possible!
So here are just a few tips and tricks I have learnt whilst trying to work out how best to use my time, and I hope people find them useful!
1. Always have ideas – write them down!
When I sit down to write, I want to actually write. Not be sat staring into space for half an hour trying to come up with an idea, which is what I often used to find myself doing! Weirdly, when I sit down to write I often find that all the ideas just fly right out of my head, whilst when I am out and about just doing daily things, I come up with loads! So meet my new best friend: Evernote! It’s a handy app that allows me to make notes in my phone, and split them into separate ‘Notebooks’ so that I can categorise them and find what I’m looking for easily. Therefore when I sit down to write a blog post and can’t come up with anything, I can just open up Evernote, go into the ‘Blog Post Ideas’ notebook, pick one and start writing! It doesn’t matter whether it’s in your phone or an actual notebook, keeping a little ‘Idea Bank’ is pretty good for your writing productivity!
2. Have a few projects on the go
This may seem a little counter-intuitive – if you are working on lots of different projects, then how will you ever get any of them finished? Well maybe this is just me, but sometimes I will be working on something, and just not be feeling it that day. So rather than think, ‘well, I really can’t be bothered working on that story/blog post right now, so I just won’t bother writing today’, if I have something else in the works, I can focus on that instead and still get something done! I think the trick to this one is balance – don’t have five projects going at once, maybe just have two, so that they still all get done in a timely manner but you can choose which one you feel like working on that day. Of course, if you are on a deadline, this may not work for you, as obviously the one with the shortest deadline needs to be prioritized. Otherwise, this is worth a try!
3. Set a daily target
Whether this is a word count target, or simply a goal to achieve, I find setting myself a target gives me something to strive for, and makes me more likely to get something done! If I’m working on a story, I tend to set myself a word count to get done that day, depending on the amount of time I’ve set aside for writing, and if it’s a blog post (which is shorter) I will try and either have written a complete first draft, or have fully revised a post. Again, this is probably not something that will work for everyone – some people probably won’t like the idea of purposefully putting pressure on themselves and saying ‘I have to do this today!’, but these are probably the people who have enough discipline to do it anyway! I personally need some encouragement!
So what do you think? Are these useful tips? And do you have any of your own tricks to getting some writing done (other than ‘just write’, which really is the answer!)?