Allow me to introduce today’s guest, Lily of ProductiveMe, who has a plethora of tips to make your days fruitful and your writing plentiful. Take it away, Lily.
Schedule for productivity
The single most important thing to keep in mind when striving for productivity is scheduling. Others may not see “writing time” as something important, but if writing is your life, it’s as important as any other task you could schedule.
Choosing to go down the online route will be more useful for writers who are on the go. There are a wealth of apps available to help divvy up your day, and your choice will depend on your circumstances. If you are writing to deadlines, pick an app that is robust enough to manage several deadlines and tasks at once. If you have more relaxed writing needs, go for something simpler but with more personality. This way, writing doesn’t feel too much like “work”.
Utilise your smartphone
Your smartphone can be utilised in other ways to help you stay productive. Chiefly, smartphones are now viable alternatives to laptops for word processing. They perhaps can’t replace a laptop or a computer, but smartphones can more than manage if you get a spark of inspiration while away from them. Microsoft Word is available for free, so you don’t even have to get used to a new style of word processor!
Then there are the fringe benefits you may not have thought of. Load it with music that aids in your writing, utilise it to fact check things, or have it search for nearby places you may want to visit for inspiration and ideas.
Utilise your environment
Speaking of getting out and about, using the great outdoors to help with your productivity may seem like a counter-productive idea, but in some instances, getting into different environments can help the writing process. For example, let’s say you’re writing something about the sea, but you’re stuck in your living room. You can picture the sea, and you could watch videos of waves, and be just fine. Or, alternatively, you could go to the sea, and have no need for picturing it in your head anymore.
There are caveats to this, however. Obviously, don’t put yourself into environments where it will be hard not to get distracted. To go back to the sea example, going to a touristy part of the coast at 1 p.m. in the height of summer is likely just going to cause headaches. Be smart about it, and not only could it make you more productive, but it could also lead to a higher standard of writing!
Make a “Write Room” at home
Of course, going outside isn’t always an option. Choosing to stay at home may be unavoidable, but it isn’t the end of the world. Working from home can result in just as productive a writing session as writing from anywhere else. The best way to achieve good results is to have a “Writing Room”. In this room, everything is geared towards writing. There’s room for comfort, sure, but you shouldn’t have game consoles, big TVs, or any other modern distraction in there. Have a desk set up for functionality more so than personality.
The walls, however, are more flexible. Try putting pictures up that are related to what you are writing about. It may not be the same as getting up close and personal with the subject matter, but it’s the next best thing. And remember to not spend time in the room when you aren’t writing. Programme yourself to go into “writing mode” whenever you walk into the room.
Always keep a pad and pencil near by
Finally, this is a technique for catching lightning in a bottle. Wherever you go, keep a notepad and a pencil with you. Why? For those times when you see, hear, smell or taste something that you have to note down for future reference. Quickly inserting a text into a smartphone can be a little bit of a chore, and drawing on them is even more frustrating. So instead, stick to the basics, and capture the moment in your own words and pictures as it happens. You can’t get much more authentic than that.
By following these tips, you will hopefully become a more efficient, productive writer. Minimising distractions, and being as resourceful as you can, will almost always improve your level of output, but for writers the tips also have the chance to improve your writing quality. You’ll be more prepared to note down things that happen by chance, while also taking steps to expand your imagination without overpowering it. That’s a win-win situation!