Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Tips for Increasing Your Writing Productivity

1.     Write at the same time every day
If you write at the same time every day you create a habit. This habit trains the brain and your muse to be prepared to do a specific activity at the same time each day. So when you sit down to your computer at 10.30 every night for 21 days (the time it takes to form a new habit) and demand that your brain let you introduce Harry to Sally, then that’s exactly what you will get.

2.     Schedule your internet
Most people head straight for their inbox first thing in the morning and start freaking out. By the end of the day you may end up with an empty inbox, but it's likely that you’ll have accomplished nothing else.

3.     Stop multi-tasking
Switching rapidly from task to task decreases your IQ by an average of ten points. That's a greater reduction than if you were strung out on drugs. We all have to do multiple things during a day, but when you can, you should focus on one activity at a time. Don't try to empty your inbox, talk on the phone, iron and defuse a bomb all at the same time, because something will blow.

4.     Write while you sleep
You can literally "sleep on it" by guiding your mind to work on writing problems while you rest. The hypnagogic state occurs between wakefulness and sleep. Some writers take power naps and focus on a problem with their WIP as they drift off. This is when the ideas come. James Scott Bell also recomends using the dream state to assist with writing. He suggest writing down any questions you may have regarind your WIP right before you go to sleep. Then before you do anythign else in the morning write down as many answers as you can to those questions.

5.     Track your success
When are you at your most productive? Do your write better in the morning? At night? On a train? With a gun to your head? If you can write 5K in an hour in the morning but only 500 words over five hours late at night, then it makes sense for you to be writing in the morning. To work out when you’re at your most productive keep a log for a week, including the time you start writing, the time you finish and how many words hit the page. By the end of the week you should start to get an idea of what your optimum writing times are.

Happy writing!


Caroline said...

Thanks LAcey - wise words as always! Caroline x

Teresa Ashby said...

That is really great advice, Lacey - if only I could stick to no. 2 - but curiosity always drags me to the inbox and the internet. And 3 is very interesting - I didn't know that, but it makes a lot of sense.
Thank you :-) x

Unknown said...

Hi Lacey! Great post. Love the idea that my brain might sort out the answers while I sleep!

Maya Blake said...

Fab post, Lacey! Number 4 has really worked for me in the past where I've literally been woken by the answer to a wip question or a new wip idea! Washing the dishes also helps, I hear!

Lacey Devlin said...

Caroline - You're so welcome :)

Teresa - No. 2 gets me too! Easier said then done right?

Charlotte - Thanks!

Maya - I read a story about a big time song writer in LA who micro-sleeps while he's working. He'll wake up and just launch back into it lol. He has no. 4 down to an art :)

Unknown said...

Hi Lacey,I've been trying to write a page first thing in the morning, before I check email. So far, not very good at it.

And I am trying different times of day to see when I'm most productive.

Romy Sommer said...

A very wise post, Lacey, and super well-timed for me. I need to print this and stick it above my desk!

Natalie Charles said... now the time to admit that I clicked on this post to avoid having to work on my WIP?

Great post, Lacey! I almost always solve my writing problems by sleeping on them. Long walks help, too. :-)