Many writers spend a disproportional amount of time idea-generating rather than getting down to work. Only with hard work, you will create a highly effective writing routine that will increase your productivity.
There are several personal attributes you need to possess to write successfully. You require talent, creativity, adaptability, dedication, and patience. While these attributes are important and play a significant role in your writing journey, there is one essential thing that every writer needs; an organized and realistic writing routine.
The most effective way to create a highly effective writing routine and become a productive writer is to write frequently. Ironically, however, many writers spend a disproportional amount of time generating ideas or plotting out their stories rather than getting down to work.
I spent five years mapping out a novel before I wrote a single word of it. Through the benefit of hindsight, I can see that my problem rested not from a lack of ideas, but with having no (established) create a highly effective writing routine. I would write sporadically rather than implementing a structured system. I would have benefited from creating a highly effective writing routine designed to maximize my productivity and improve the quality of my writing.
If you take a moment and look at your own writing habits from an objective perspective, you may realize that your largest writing obstacle rests with the lack of a proper writing routine. While I don’t downplay the importance of idea generation, your ideas will not write themselves into completed projects. Being an effective writer means that you should spend a significant amount of your time writing.
Here are five steps you can take to create a highly effective writing routine that will increase your productivity.
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Find your ideal place to write
Every writer needs a place to write. While this may seem like a straightforward notion, the reality is more complex. Finding somewhere to write goes beyond finding a physical space, it’s about finding a location that stimulates your creativity.
Finding a writing space at home is the default go-to for many writers. While it does make sense to have a location at home where you can sit down and write, it may not always be conducive to maximizing your productivity.
While writing at home can be very convenient, it may prove to be highly distracting for some writers. If you’re finding it hard to accomplish a significant amount of writing in your space at home, it probably means that it is not your ideal writing space. You may wish to try finding somewhere to go outside of the home like a coffee shop or library.
A writer’s ideal space is very individualistic. Some may write better in the comfort of their own home, some might prefer total seclusion and others may thrive surrounded by others. Regardless, try experimenting by writing in different locations and find the place where you feel you worked most effectively.
Set your goals
You’ve likely heard the argument that you should write every day. While writing regularly is an absolute must, having clearly defined goals will make you more productive.
Sit back and think of what you wish to accomplish. It could be as simple as a daily minimum word count. If you blog, your goal could be to write a predetermined number of posts each week. If you write fiction, maybe your goal is to write the first draft of a novel within a certain number of weeks or months.
It is important to set achievable goals for yourself. If your goals are unrealistic, you may waiver and grow frustrated. If you wish to have a daily word count but you know you’re a slower writer, go with a lower number like 500 words. You’ll likely find that as you spend more time writing your speed will increase and you can raise your daily word count.
Having set goals allows you to better organize and optimize the time you spend writing. You can breakdown long-term writing projects into daily or weekly targets. Prioritize your focus for each writing day and plan your tasks days or even weeks ahead of time. Knowing exactly what you’re working to accomplish will noticeably increase your productivity.
Determine your most productive time of day
Writing is so individualistic and no one writer works in the same manner as another. All of us have periods in the day when we’re more alert and motivated. Early birds may find writing right at the start of their day is when they feel most creative and focused. Night owls may prefer the evenings or late at night. Some of you may find that you do better work during long periods on the weekends, while others may find weekdays — when family members or roommates are more likely to be out — to be more effective.
If you’re unsure what time of the day is your most productive and creative, then experiment. Try writing at different times of the day for a week or two comparing your work. Whichever time appears to be your most ideal should be the period when you schedule your writing time going forward.
Stick to your writing schedule
The key to being an effective writer is making sure you’re writing regularly. You need to free up space in your calendar so you can write as frequently as possible. As with your goals, you need to create a realistic schedule that won’t test the limits of your commitment.
While some may set aside multiple hours every day, others could find it challenging to make such a commitment. It may be better to start small and make adjustments as you move along. Even four hours a week spread out over several days will make a significant difference and is very workable.
The most important thing is not to break from your writing schedule. If you struggle with the discipline to keep to your writing commitment, you may want to give yourself incentives. For every two weeks that you stick to your schedule, give yourself a little reward. A reward could be a trip to the movies, your favorite dessert, or even a “cheat” day where you skip one scheduled writing day to decompress.
Set your perfectionism aside
While we shouldn’t downplay the importance of quality, always focusing on the caliber of your work can be a very large writing hindrance. Striving to write at one-hundred percent of your creative capacity at all times is, in most cases, a one-way ticket to burning out.
Most writers want their work to be fantastic from the moment they begin writing. The truth is that most pieces of writing go through many edits before the final product is ever released. On days when you know you’re struggling and working below your normal creative capacity, you must avoid giving into perfectionist tendencies.
When you’re struggling, force yourself to keep writing and place your perfectionism on the back-burner. Whenever you felt doubt creeping in, remind yourself that the important thing is that you’re writing something rather than nothing at all. No one will read what you’ve written besides you. You will come back and hone the quality of your work during the editing process. But if you write nothing to be with, you’ll have nothing to edit.
Being creative people, writers sometimes shy away from routine. It can be viewed with negative connotations. Writing, like any artistic expression, heavily relies on feelings, instinct, and freedom to take form. As such, some view regular writing habits as restrictive and not conducive to expressive writing.
Rather than being a hindrance or creative suppressant, however, an established and realistic writing routine is one of the best ways to ensure productivity. Can you really call yourself a writer is you’re not actually writing regularly? For that reason, it is very important to create a highly effective writing routine that will increase your productivity.