When you’re a writer, there’s nothing as exciting as the rush of sitting at your desk and diving into an exciting world in the pages of your notebook or on your laptop. Whether writing is your hobby or you’re a fully-fledged professional writer, when you enter that space of creation and inspiration, it’s one of the most fulfilling activities you do in your life. Usually, anyway. When you’re not feeling very inspired, when for some reason you wake up in the morning and can’t think of anything to write about in front of the blank pages staring back at you, writing suddenly stops being fun. It’s a chore, and it isn’t enjoyable, and it’s enough to force you to give up. But that isn’t an option. You need to write!
That’s where productivity strategies come in. By following these tips, you can beat the writer’s block and the muddle in the middle. Read on to find out about the different ways you can make writing work for you when it doesn’t seem to be working.
1. Figure out your goals
We’ve all been there, romanticizing writers who drink and party and somehow get their 300-page manuscript written in a crazy fit of inspiration. But the fact is, this is the exception that proves the rule. If you really want to get your writing done and complete larger projects like a chapbook or a novel, then you need to know what your long-term goals are and plan toward them. For example, if you want to have a novel completed by the end of this year, you need to figure out what books to read to prepare yourself for writing it, what kind of outline (if any) you want to use, and how many pages you want to have finished by the end of this month. Even though it’s overwhelming, creating a writing schedule for yourself will help you reach these goals and motivate you when you’re feeling stuck.
If you think technology will help you, think about using the Any.do calendar app, which can be free or costs only $2.99 a month for the pro version.
2. Figure out when you’re most productive
A large part of being a successful creative is figuring out when you’re most productive and taking advantage of that time. Many writers swear by waking up early. According to an interview between Mason Currey and the writer Nicholson Baker, Baker explained that the reason for this is that, “The mind is newly cleansed, but it’s also befuddled, and you’re still just plain sleepy…I found that I wrote differently then.” It’s definitely something worth trying out, as well as writing in the middle of the night and after an afternoon siesta. Keep track of when you feel most productive and inspired; you can then make this part of your regular schedule. For example, if you’re most productive at night, then you’ll stop watching Netflix then and save socializing for your days off from writing.
Even if you’re most productive in the morning, we still recommend cutting down on Netflix, by the way; the average Netflix user spends 71 minutes a day watching Netflix, which could be used to read or write.
3. Do a social media detox
One of the world’s biggest distractions, not only for writers but also for almost anyone creative, is social media. In fact, according to a study by Nielsen, the average American spent more than 11 hours a day in 2018 watching, reading, listening, or simply interacting with media. That’s a scary statistic. Imagine how much writing you could get done once you got those hours back! So instead of scrolling through Instagram in the morning, read some poetry or go for a quick run. You can schedule Instagram stories if you need anyway. And when you’re at your desk writing, put your phone on airplane mode and use website blockers. That way, if a clever Tweet pops into your head, it can go into some witty dialogue instead of the void of the online world.
4. Use a timer
One of the easiest productivity solutions for writers is using a timer. Once you’ve followed the first strategy of setting up your goals, you’ll know how much you’re going to have to work on every week and daily. So if you want to fit in three hours of writing in a day, timing it guarantees that it’ll actually happen. Scheduling breaks can be helpful, too. Think about using the Pomodoro method, which splits your work into 25-minute chunks with breaks in-between. Whatever ends up working for you, take these breaks so you don’t burn out!
One of the best productivity timer apps is Focus Booster, which costs $2.99 for 30 days for individuals.
By following these strategies, you’ll be a way more productive creative writer. In the same way that a filmographer benefits from Oberlo’s 22 video editing software roundup, you’ll benefit from following these tips. What productivity strategies would you recommend to other writers?