Many writers can understand the frustration of staring at a blinking cursor. You may have ideas but just can’t get yourself to type. For many reasons, a lot of writers tend to struggle with staying productive. As someone who has dealt with this for years, I’ve come up with a list of the biggest mistakes writers make that hinder productivity and five ways you can get more writing done.
Biggest Productive Mistakes Writers Make
The three main mistakes writers make when it comes to productivity are over-editing, being unorganized, and not writing ideas down.
When drafting a novel or any writing, your focus should be on getting words down and allowing your ideas to flow freely. Constantly correcting, rewriting, or editing every sentence won’t get you far. Not only does that take excessive time, but it also leads to more frustration, and in turn, further procrastination.
Spending hours looking for story ideas, bits of information, and the like is anything but fun. And again, this takes time and leads to frustration. Staying organized and keeping your writing organized is one of the best ways to stay productive.
Not Writing Ideas Down
We’ve all had those great ideas that we were so excited by only to forget them later. This is why you should write down any ideas you have as soon as you can, no matter how abstract they might be.
Five Ways You Can Become a Productive Writer
To save time, write better, and experience less frustration, try these five methods for writing productively.
Rummaging around for story concepts or drafts or whatever is far from productive. It’s best to keep your writing organized so when inspiration hits you can instantly get to writing.
There are countless ways to organize writing and I have a post all about organizing your work as a writer (you can check that out here), but some of my favorite apps to use are Notion and Trello. They are free to use (although paid versions are available) and are super customizable.
Notion is my favorite, but it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Trello, on the other hand, is slightly less customizable but is easy to use and gets the job done.
Write Down Every Idea
Any time you think oh, that’d make a good story, write the idea down. Keep a small notebook with you or just write it on your phone, whatever you choose, note the idea as soon as you can so you don’t forget anything. The more regularly you do this the more writing projects you’ll be able to complete.
Also, try to keep track of your dreams by writing down any interesting ones you have. I know personally, I’ve come up with a lot of my work based on dreams I’ve had.
Don’t Sensor Yourself
Editing each sentence as you write it can be counter-productive. You fixate on each sentence, trying to make them perfect, instead of focusing on the whole piece. The first draft is not meant to be perfect, and editing as you go will leave you doubting any and all ideas you come up with.
Instead, let yourself write. Refrain from overthinking the quality of each sentence and just let the ideas flow. You’ll find you write so much more in a shorter time and you may even write better when you let yourself be.
Like with any skill, if you don’t regularly use your writing muscles, they’ll weaken over time. Writing regularly, even if just a few minutes each day in a journal, will help you write better when it comes to novels and other work.
You may also want to get into the habit of sitting down to work on writing a novel or whatever you’ve been putting off. Often the hardest part of writing is just starting, so building a habit of sitting down to write a few times a week for ten-fifteen minutes can lead to a complete book.
Remove Distractions, Add Atmosphere
Trying to watch television and write is something many of us have tried and most, if not all of us, have failed at. To write more productively it’s essential to remove distractions from your workspace. Each person may have different distractions, but things like tv, phones, and music are some of the biggest.
And, although music can be distracting, I find listening to focus music to be beneficial to my writing. Adding atmosphere to your work area can put you in the writing mood and help you focus. Like I said, for me, that’s focus music, but to you that may be lighting a candle or having a cup of tea or coffee.
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