Any writer will tell you that writing is labor of love. It’s incredibly rewarding but it is also incredibly difficult. This is true not only with regard to the content that is being written, but also balancing it against life and work. The following 10 tips are designed to help you build better practices and how to write more efficiently so that you can complete the next great novel!
Make a plan and stick to it
One of the hardest part about writing is taking the time to sit down and write, so make a plan and stick to it. Whether you want to write 1,000 or 10,000 words a day, make realistic goals and schedule out blocks of time each day that are dedicated solely to writing. Although there will be times when you sit and stare at the computer for a seemingly long period of time without typing a word, the act of building a routine and maintaining the habit will help you to be more productive in the long run.
Use a writing app
There’s something to be said for the traditional act of putting pen to paper, but it is very difficult to make changes to an outline that is written in ink. Instead, use one or more of these writing apps to get and stay organized. The great thing about taking notes and plotting the direction digitally is that it’s easy to change. For example, if you find that a scene you wrote would be better fit for the latter part of the book than the beginning, you can simply drop-and-drag or cut-and-paste it to the right place without having to start all over.
You’ve probably heard this tip before and there’s a good reason for it – unplugging is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer (or a reader, for that matter). It’s hard to get into the zone and develop intricate plotlines or characters when your phone is ringing every 15 minutes, so turn off your phone and notifications on your computer to ensure distraction-free writing. This will help you focus on the task at hand and write more efficiently (and likely save your editor some time in the future).
Create a writing space
Depending on what gets your creative juices going, your writing space may be a favorite coffee shop or a home office Regardless of where your space is, it’s important to have one. Dedicating a spot solely to writing will help get you into that mindset every time you sit down.
Talk to other writers
Writing groups are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and gain insight into what works and doesn’t work for other authors, including feedback on characters or plotlines or tidbits on how to squeeze more writing hours out of the day. Either way, talking to other authors will inspire you to do more and help you to do it better.
Take day off
There are two schools of thought on writing: write every day no matter what or take a day off once in a while. Regardless, taking a break from working on a specific project is a good idea, so if you subscribe to the daily writing camp, then use this day “off” to pursue something new. This can be maintaining a blog or writing an essay or short story to break up the monotony of working on a single story, which helps you circle back to your novel with a new freshness.
As a writer, you are probably already a reader, but it’s easy to forgo reading for pleasure when there is writing to be done. Don’t let this be the case. After all, reading is likely what inspired you to write and makes you happy, which helps you stay more balanced in life, overall. Plus, if you learn to read like a writer, you’ll glean insights into how to write better, which will make your book better.
Use full-screen/distraction free views
This simple trick on your laptop can save you tons of time and enhance your productivity exponentially. Every computer app is able to be viewed in full screen mode, with many writing apps offering distraction free writing. When combined with disabling all computer notifications and unplugging your cell phone, you are able to focus solely on the task at hand.
Remember when we discussed making a plan and sticking with it? It’s equally important to keep yourself accountable to that plan. Whether this is putting a dollar in a jar or vowing to donate to a charity you disagree with every time you miss a goal, the key is to follow through with it. Just like forming good writing habits, it’s important to develop good accountability habits, no matter how unpleasant they may be.
Load up on snacks
There’s nothing worse than wanting someone and not being able to have it, so keep an arsenal of non-greasy snacks nearby when you’re writing. That way, if you get hungry while writing, you don’t have to break your train of thought or fight away the nagging reminder that you’re hungry. This may sound trivial, but it works (and you can even use them as a reward system every time you finish a page!).
What tips do you have for writing more efficiently?