Reducing Your Sit-In-Front-of-the-Computer Hours by Daphne Gray-Grant
Whether you’re working for yourself or for other people, writing takes time. But perhaps it needn’t require as many sit-in-front-of-the-computer hours as you dread. Here are 10 ways to increase your writing productivity.
- Don’t write too soon! Allow yourself plenty of time for ideas to percolate at the back of your brain before you sit down to write. What might look like “procrastination” can actually be valuable incubation time for many writers.
- Create a mindmap – a free-flowing brainstorm of what you want to write about. This is much more powerful than an outline, which only engages the linear, one-dimensional part of your brain.
- If you haven’t been given a word-count goal, set one yourself, even if it’s arbitrary. After all, how will you know how to measure success if you don’t have a scale?
- Turn off your computer monitor so you cannot see what you are writing. If you keep editing a separate job, you’ll write much faster.
- Write with a kitchen timer. Challenge yourself to produce as many words as possible in 15 to 30 minutes.
- Break your job into smaller, more manageable pieces. If your assignment is 1,000 words and that seems too long, try tackling it in three 333-word segments, instead.
- Write in dribs and drabs rather than one big chunk. Write while you’re waiting for lunch, for a phone call or even for an elevator. Every sentence or two will add to the total word count.
- Ask yourself a series of questions about your writing topic – then answer them. It may take only minor editing to turn this into the “real” report or article.
- Reverse your idea. For example, if you’re writing about the topic: “10 ways to keep your best employees,” try changing it to “10 ways to ensure you lose your best employees.” It will be more fun for you (and probably more fun for your readers, too!)
- Reward yourself when you’re done. You don’t have to gorge on frosting-laden brownies to celebrate – listening to a favorite song or perhaps reading a short story are both good calorie-free rewards! This will encourage you to tackle your next writing task with even more enthusiasm.
Use these tips and you’ll not only write faster – you’ll write better, too.
© Daphne Gray-Grant who is the author of 8 1/2 Steps to Writing Faster, Better. Daphne Gray-Grant is The Publication Coach and you can access her book and sign up for her VERY helpful (Meggin’s comment) weekly newsletter at Publication Coach. Writers will find her site, materials, and coaching helpful.
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