There are various personal traits one needs to possess to write successfully. Talent, creativity, commitment and patience are top on the list. While these attributes are important and play a significant role in your writing journey, there is one essential thing that every writer needs; an organised writing routine.
The most effective way to become a productive writer is to keep writing. Yet ironically many of us spend a disproportionate amount of time generating ideas or plotting out stories rather than getting down to the real work of writing. While ideating and mentally working on a plot is important, writing them down, however haphazardly or in a raw form is as crucial.
Listed below are 7 steps you can take to create a highly effective writing routine that will help increase your productivity:
Decide your most productive time of day:
All of us have particular periods in the day when we are most alert, energised 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 wee hours of the morning. Some of you may find that you do better work during long periods on the weekends, while others may find weekdays more effective. If you are unsure what time of the day is your most productive and creative, try to experiment. Try writing at different times of the day for a week or two and then compare your work. Whichever time appears to be your most ideal should be the period when you schedule your writing time going forward.
2. Decide a special place/corner for writing:
There are two types of writers - those who designate a special place for writing and those who can focus regardless of where they are. The first group may be more productive in the midst of nature, a designated area at home or any other place that helps them concentrate on writing. For the second group, noise, chaos and/or other distractions do not disturb them. They embark on writing productively anywhere. But if you fall in the first category of writers, consider designating a specific place for increasing your productivity.
3. Read as much as you can:
The most effective way to increase your vocabulary and improve your use of grammar is to read often. Books, articles, essays, blog posts, whatever appeals to you should be a part of your reading habit. If you dedicate time to reading, you will find it easier to illustrate skillful use of language, grammar and tone.
4. Keep practising writing:
When it comes to writing, the key to gain expertise in it is to practise. The more you write, the easier it will become. As you continue to write, you will begin to develop your own unique style and writing process. Even if it is just journaling, a status update or even an email, writing daily will help hone your writing skills.
5. Use simple language:
If you find yourself using complex vocabulary or technical jargons, try to simplify it and make it as easy to understand. In most cases, using common words and phrases will make your writing easier to understand, process and remember.
6. Set a daily goal:
Figure out how much you can usually achieve in your 1-2 hour writing slot, and make that your daily goal. Whether it is 1 or 5 pages per day, do your best to achieve that goal, which will give you gratification and motivate you to keep writing. Sometimes taking a day off in the week can help you think more clearly and come back with renewed force to write better.
7. Avoid multitasking while writing:
By avoiding multitasking you save considerable time and mental energy. Psychological research shows that it is not possible to focus simultaneously on two or more tasks at any given point in time. If you want to improve your concentration, writing efficiency as well as accuracy, segregate the different processes involved in writing like reading and researching, writing the first draft, revising the content, refining the language etc.
The fact is that there is no one solution and there is no one-size-fits-all kind of strategy for any writer. You will have to go through a series of practices, trials and errors to arrive at your most feasible technique of writing productively. But once you get there, the journey of writing will become way effortless and easier.