Trick Yourself Into Writing More Productively

By on August 18, 2017
Trick Yourself Into Writing More Productively - Writer's

All writers would love to be more productive, but it can be hard. With busy lives and lots of other things to juggle, we often find that writing gets pushed to the bottom of our priority list again and again. Here are some simple ways to become a more productive writer, without even really trying!

Take baby steps

The key to writing more productively is not to do too much too soon. If you set yourself unrealistic targets -one that you can’t possibly achieve - you’ll never get anywhere. Little and often is the key.

In short, it’s all about making progress, however small that progress is. If you set yourself ridiculously easy goals at first you’ll definitely achieve them. So instead of giving yourself a word count limit or saying ‘I want to finish this chapter by…’ why don’t you just decide to write for ten minutes every day?

No matter where you are and what other things fill up your life, this is doable.

However, be warned, just because you do it three days in a row, don’t change your goal or increase your writing time, just keep doing it, keep writing for ten minutes a day until you absolutely know that you will. You’ll find what happens is that your writing becomes more natural, and flows easier, and soon those ten minutes will fly by and you’ll find yourself writing for twenty or thirty minutes instead without even thinking about it.

If you do it doesn’t mean you shouldn't then write the next day, just keep that same goal, taking small steps and you’ll naturally end up being more productive. Progress has been shown to be an effective motivator, even more so than rewarding yourself when you hit a goal. Think about it, if you were trying to lose weight, for example, would getting on the scales and seeing that your diet is working and you are closer to your target weight be more motivating than the reward of buying a new dress when you do? The same goes for writing, if you keep progressing you’ll feel more inspired to write and the more you write the more you’ll progress!

Reward yourself

Saying that, rewarding yourself when you achieve a goal can be a good way to keep you on track and motivated to continue. Rewards can be little things like having a coffee and a cake after you’ve finished a chapter to larger things like going out for a fancy dinner or a weekend away to celebrate finishing your whole novel. Knowing that if you write well you’ll get to have a reward sooner is a good way to keep you productive and focused, as well as keep those distractions at bay!

Get feedback early on

Another way to trick yourself into writing more productively is to get some feedback on your writing early on. Because writing can often be a lonely job, if you are trying to write an entire novel and you don’t get any feedback until the end, it can be tough to hear any criticism. If you get feedback as you go however you can make tweaks and changes as you write, and then it won’t feel like such a mammoth task or be so disheartening if you do receive criticism of your work.

Get to know your writing self

Lastly, one of the easiest ways to make the most of your writing time is to really understand how best you like to write. Figure out what barriers you have, is it lack of time, lack of confidence, fear of the unknown? Work out which times of day you feel at your most creative. And where do you write well, in a bustling cafe or in absolute silence at home? When do ideas strike you and how do you incorporate them into your writing? Do you prefer to type straight onto a document or write by hand?

Experimenting with what makes you be at your writing best and noticing patterns in your writing behaviour will help you to tackle any problems, set up the perfect writing environment and do whatever you need to to make your writing time as productive as possible.

By following the above you can trick yourself and train yourself into making significant progress in your writing. By working smarter, more effectively and more enjoyably your writing will feel effortless, and you’ll reach those writing goals even sooner!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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