For professional writers who churn out words to make a living, there are few things as dreadful as writer’s block. Know that feeling when you stare at the blank page and it stares right back at you? I’m sure you do.
A freelance writer’s life can be hectic, unlike what most people think. When you work from home and are your own boss, you have to be extra motivated, organised, and disciplined. You must constantly follow deadlines while producing a certain standard of work within a fixed budget. Not all of us are great at multi-tasking and dealing with more than one important thing simultaneously can lead to stress and confusion.
If you struggle to manage your time and have been lacking concentration when trying to come up with new ideas or topics, then this piece is for you. Here are seven productivity tips that writers can use to recharge their writing and keep the ideas flowing.
Every writer has that moment when words don’t come easy. Instead of throwing your keyboard against the wall in despair when the blank page stares at you, get a book to read. There are few writer’s block cures like a good book. Reading opens up the mind and ignites creativity, and it works best when you make it a habit.
For me, reading has always been an addiction. When I was a school girl, my teachers would ask me to read less and play more because I’d hardly ever leave the classroom or the library. Even today, I read everything from books to newspapers and magazines, to roadside advertisements, banners, posters, and graffiti. I’ve also often come up with a sudden idea when looking at a billboard on the street.
A writer can only churn out words when they expose themselves to new and different points of view, words, phrases, and styles of writing.
Make a schedule
Writers, particularly those who work from home, tend to fall into the trap of working whenever they feel like, or worse, working all the time. During my initial days, I used to work early in the morning, in the evening, late in the night— practically the whole day. Instead of getting a lot of work done, I only ended up wasting more energy that way. It was then that I decided to make a schedule. Now I only work six hours a day, and spend the rest of my time indulging in my passions.
Just like meal times, nap times, toilet times, writing should also have a schedule of its own. When you devote a certain number of hours at the same time every day to writing, you channel your energy in the right direction, are better able to gather your thoughts, and have a more productive day.
Identify Distractions- and Remove Them
Distractions don’t just come in the form of noisy kids or a whistling pressure cooker. They may be small things like an instant messenger, internal factors like stress, or external factors like a cluttered desk or disorganised room.
Taking the time to identify and remove the possible distractions will help you refresh your focus and ward off things unrelated to your work that could be blocking your energy and concentration.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort ~ Paul J. Meyer
Write- even if it is gibberish
To get better at being productive, you must commit to writing a certain number of words every day. And you must do it even on days when all that you write sound like drivel.
How many times have you heard of the necessity of working out even when you don’t feel like it? Well, consider this an exercise for your mind and creativity. Very often, I manage to come up with some brilliant pieces while sifting through my ‘garbage’.
Follow other writers
When you’re stuck in a rut, it often helps to turn to other writers for some inspiration. Most freelance writers have their own blog or website which makes it easy to connect with them.
Following another successful writer is a great way to get your mind, your writing, and your schedule back on track. Many of them also share free tips for becoming a better writer and other motivating posts that can help you overcome writer’s block.
Mental overload leads to burnout, hindering productivity. When you work from home, you end up taking care of household chores, kids, bills, and everything else along with your writing.
An overcrowded mind automatically leaves you stressed, which affects your work. Taking breaks is vital if you want to remain productive at work. Small things like a coffee break, a short walk, a little cuddle with your kid or your dog, or simply turning your computer off for sometime will help you relax and refocus on work.
Words mean expression. And you can only express meaningfully when you live life and enjoy its fullness.
Being involved in lots of things like gardening, baking, music, and volunteer work provide me with stories and ideas. Meeting people, taking long walks, meditating, being present in the moment, and simply soaking in all that life has to offer can broaden your horizon and let your creativity flow.
Over to you….
What ways have you found to beat writer’s block? Share them below!