Being Productive by Paying Attention by Gwyn Nichols

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In Writers
Jan 5th, 2013
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  1. girl looking at screenTrain yourself to notice when you are writing.  Save copies of topically relevant blog posts, social media updates, and soapbox e-mails into a dedicated draft or computer folder. You might discover the book is half-written.
  1. Do the opposite.  Draft a possible outline of the book, then look for ways to break it into pieces: a blog here, an article there, a speech, social media update, podcast, or video.
  1. Carry a mini pen and notepad.  You don’t have to write any book; you’re only jotting a few notes. You’re an observer, gathering data, impressions, ideas, and words. The world conspires to deliver more of whatever you’re watching for.
  1. Start with your FAQs. What do people want to know whenever they learn of your experience or expertise? Find out what people ask online. Create an online survey to test-market your topic and sub-topics with your target audience.
  1. Schedule daily writing check-ins.  They don’t have to be long, only consistent. Keep every date with your subconscious so it will know when to show up. If you treat that relationship as your last priority, you’ll often catch your inner genius napping.
  1. Strike whenever the iron is hot.  Anytime you discuss your topic and your passion flows, excuse yourself, pause, and take notes or turn on a recorder. Some writers even avoid talking out all the energy.
  1. If you’re more talker than writer, record and transcribe podcasts, speeches, casual conversations, even car soliloquies, then transcribe. It’s easier for someone to edit your spoken material for written conventions than it is to make awkwardly written material sound like you. Voice recognition software, once trained, creates a few more typos than an average human, but correcting those can be faster than typing.
  1. If you’re one to take exercise classes rather than jog alone, enlist social support. Exchange drafts with a friend by e-mail or meet at a cafe for “work and ignore” sessions.
  1. Reward yourself in silly ways, like posting stickers on your calendar every time you write. Reward yourself in big ways, with gifts or quality time for every page or chapter or book.
  1. Think small. Books are written a word, a phrase, a sentence at a time. Write only one page a day, and you complete a rough draft in about a year. Even if you never polished it or published it, that alone is a legacy to bless some reader long after you’re gone. How many tasks that crowd out your writing dream can make that claim?  So start humbly and enjoy the process.

Which one of these will you apply this week?

© Gwyn Nichols of Writers’ Resort is a ghostwriter and developmental book editor. She invented the writers’ tele-retreat, teaches college classes, and blogs at WritersResort.com and RandallDean.com.

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