Ever felt like you need just another few hours in the day? Not many, just a couple more to catch up on your writing? Well, get ready to forget this feeling, as our productivity tips are here to fix this.
Trust us: we have all been there. Trying to be a writer while having to do school, job and social events can become too much. After a day full of problems, stresses and exhausting tasks, sitting down at the table and constructing a coherent story can be the last thing on your mind.
There is a reverse situation: you spend whole day (or night) writing, until finally the day’s tasks catch up with you. Next thing you know, you are severely lacking sleep and feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of everything you still have to do.
Unsurprisingly, this is the point when your schedule starts malfunctioning, and slowly, or all at once, you give up on writing completely.
Do not despair thinking you’ll have to forsake either one. It is possible to combine writing with all other parts of your life and stay productive and happy.
To know how, see our step-by-step productivity guide for young writers below.
Step 1: Stop and Think
Just stop and take a deep breath. Can you do it?
Now take a look at your schedule, your lifestyle and your daily obligations. Don’t try to cut yourself some slack: look at it all with a critical eye.
Answer yourself truthfully: does it really work? Is there a way to use your time more effectively?
Of course, there might be things you have no power over, like school or job. You will have to work around those fixed hours, so find time spots in your day that you can use better. Maybe you could wake up earlier? Maybe you could move some of the tasks around? Is there an hour or two after your classes that you spend just pointlessly watching a TV show, or just mulling over homework assignment that could have been done faster?
If your day is scheduled correctly, you may be able to accomplish much more than you thought was possible.
Step 2: Find Your Rhythm
Now that you know how to move some of the tasks and obligations around, try to find your perfect time for each thing on your daily activities.
You’ll have to experiment to find that perfect time. Maybe it’s in the early morning; maybe it’s between other tasks, maybe it’s on your lunch break. Don’t know yet? Find out.
Many young writers make a mistake of reserving long hours for writing. This actually can become harmful for your productivity: you’ll get tired and distracted. Start small: from 15 to 45 minutes of uninterrupted focused writing, which brings us to the next step.
Step 3: Separate Your Tasks
This step is directly responsible for high or low productivity of writers.
What most young writers don’t know and what all experienced writers do is the separation of tasks in writing. That means actual writing and editing happen at different times. It also means that your first draft should be what it is, no matter how awful it feels.
Don’t go back and reread it. Don’t start fixing the problems and rewriting it as you go. Leave it for later. Let your thoughts flow.
Step 4: Set Achievable Goals
Instead of trying to stick to your New Year resolution of “write a book and become famous”, break this dream into small achievable parts that can be spread out equally throughout the year, and most importantly can be measured.
For example, plan to write 300 words a day. This is manageable and you can see how well you are doing.
Step 5: Relax and Enjoy
We concern ourselves with productivity because of one reason really: to do a lot in a day and still manage to enjoy it.
So don’t overload your day. Break it down to doable parts. Don’t multiply stress; reduce it.
Don’t try to write non-stop or make 1000 words in 10 mins you have on the bus. Take it slow and steady. Remember the tortoise always beats the hare.