Writing is not an easy job. When your creativity doesn’t want to cooperate, you get stuck staring at a blank page while your thoughts are running elsewhere. If your mind decides to ignore your attempts at writing, you have nothing else to do except crying or using this time to relax. Here are few steps that can help you boost your productivity in writing.
Use the available tools
There are many great apps and online tools for writers. If you need to avoid distractions in the form of social media, you might want to try SelfControl. This app is free, but it’s only available for Mac and not yet compatible with PCs. It allows you to block your own access to distracting websites. All you need to do is click start and set a time during which you don’t want to have access to certain websites. If you decide to use this app, beware! You won’t be able to visit the sites you’ve blocked. Restarting your computer or deleting the application won’t help, you’ll still need to wait until the set time expires.
If you want to write distraction-free, you might want to try FocusWriter. It hides away all of the other interfaces, so you only have access to a writing editor. There are plenty of other tools using the PomodoroTechnique, time tracking on certain websites, word counts etc. You can try several of them because they usually have a free trial of at least the basic version of the app. Once you’re tried a few, you can choose the ones which work the best for you.
Is the internet too distracting for you? I totally understand. There’s a simple solution for that, turn off the wifi. Of course, there’s also nothing easier than just turning wifi back on again. If you can’t keep yourself off the internet, you can use an app which blocks you from the internet or you can go and work somewhere where you have no access to the internet. You’ll get a lot more done without the internet distracting you, I promise.
Nobody likes them, but sometimes only a deadline will force you to finish your tasks. Ideally, you should divide your bigger tasks into smaller steps. It’s hard to keep your own deadlines, so if you have the option, ask someone to hold you accountable for not achieving your writing goals.
Don’t edit while you’re writing
This is a big piece of advice and I bet you’re guilty of this one. I certainly am. Writing and editing at the same time slows you down incredibly. Not to mention that you’ll never be satisfied with your previous sentence. Just write what you’re thinking and then let your article sit for a while. You can come back to it tomorrow and rewrite the parts you don’t like or, if it’s already good, you can just work on some small editing. Sleep on it.
Find the best time for writing and don’t forget to relax
Everyone is different. Somebody is an early bird, waking up at 6 to start writing at 7. Others are night owls, and their creativity starts kicking after sunset. You know yourself best and so you also know when you can and when you can’t write. This can be a problem if writing is your job and you need to keep business hours. However, you should always try to optimize your time. Write in your most creative time and do the less interesting, more automatic tasks when your writing muse just doesn’t cooperate.
While writing, you might get into a flow and just lose track of time. It’s amazing when that happens. But sometimes you just can’t get yourself in there and you need to take more breaks to rest your brain. Some people suggests the Pomodoro Technique. This technique means that you work in 25 minutes intervals. When the timer rings, you take a short break of 3 – 5 minutes. After you do four 25-minute intervals, you take a longer break of 15 – 30 minutes. The Pomodoro Technique doesn’t work for everyone, but you might as well try it and see if you see some improvement.
Read, read, and then read some more
If you can’t get yourself started, just read. Articles by other authors, books, anything works. Reading will help you get inspiration and your creative muscles will flex. By the way, what are you reading now? You can share your tips in the comment section below.
Bonus tip: I’ve recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. In Big Magic, she shared quite a few amazing tips on how to get your creativity going. I liked one tip in particular. If you’re experiencing a writer’s block, just go on a date with inspiration. Get yourself ready, as if you were going on a date with another person, except this will be just between you, your inspiration, and your laptop. Happy writing and a lot of inspiration! Whether you write business texts or a novel, you will need it.