10 Keys to Writing More Every Day
Whether for fun or for pay, writing as much as you want or need to is an important part of many writers’ income or passive income plans. Completing writing assignments whenever you want to, without procrastinating, is an incredibly valuable trait to cultivate.
I have tried more ways than I can count to write more and beat the dreaded procrastination, while also avoiding burnout. Here are 10 of the most effective things that have worked for me in getting past my own writing blocks and producing more each day. Hopefully others will find these as useful as I have.
- Work on more than one article or writing piece at a time.There are days when I feel brain-dead, and wish that just staring at the computer screen would magically get an article completed. Many times, this can be caused by boredom or frustration with your topic. Open up one or two more documents, and work on one paragraph at a time from each document, to give your brain some much-needed variety.
- Focus on just one paragraph at a time. Writing can seem difficult, but like any other goal, once it is broken into bite-sized chunks, the task becomes much easier to manage. Sometimes I even break a paragraph down and just work on the topic sentence. Then I complete the conclusion sentence. By then, I am pretty motivated to fill in three or four relevant tidbits of information to support the topic sentence and polish off the paragraph.
- Use a timer strategically. Set it for only five minutes and start writing. We can do just about anything for only five minutes, even tedious writing. Once the timer goes off, give yourself 10 minutes to go do something else. Come back and do another five minutes of writing, or see if you can increase it to 10 minutes. Do not skip the breaks – they are part of what makes this process work.
- Spend more time on up-front research and less time on writing. Do enough quality research that the information builds up inside and the words cannot wait to burst on to the page. If you write about something you know well, it is easy to crank out a ton of writing, because so much information is built up inside, just waiting to come out. Re-create that phenomenon on purpose by doing good research before writing.
- Reduce your writing to bullet points. I go back to this technique when my writing starts to get too wordy and muddled. If you get frustrated and caught up in trying to find just the right words for a particular section of writing, boil it down to its base elements and write down the meat of the paragraph in outline or bullet-pointed format. This helps get the focus back where it should be – on the content.
- Have faith in your inner perfectionist. Get the first draft of your writing out of your head and on to paper as quick as possible. Make sure you leave all errors, typos and poor grammar there, in their full glory. Once the first draft is done, take a quick break and then let your inner perfectionist come back to the piece and edit ruthlessly while admiring the great underlying content you wrote!
- Use fun facts. Ever notice how easy it is to write when you are really fired up about something? Find a little soapbox to get on, or locate some trivia, fun facts or little-known information on your topic. Interesting statistics or weird details about your subject make the piece more fun and interesting for you to write, which translates into better content for your readers to enjoy.
- Use Subtitles. When writing any piece, especially longer ones, divide the piece with subtitles. I usually have one subtitle for every 100 to 150 words. For a 950-word article, I come up with 9 subtitles, which includes the introduction paragraph. The subtitles have a logical flow that basically outlines the article, and the job of typing 100 to 150 words about each subtitle goes pretty quick. As long as I have done good research, I can get a 950-word piece written this way in about 30 minutes.
- Use mind maps. Mind maps are basically diagrams of information, arranged in a way that mimics the connection your brain makes between bits of information. Plenty of online articles exist to teach people how to make and use mind maps. I prefer a simple circle in the middle of a piece of paper, with the topic of my writing in the center. Then, like the arms of an octopus, lines extend from the center to other written subtopics I may want to write about. Some of these tentacles may have sub-points attached to them. This is one of the easiest, most visual ways to quicky diagram an article, essay or whole book.
- Find joy in the process. What is it you like most about the process of writing? What ever it is, write it down and stay focused on it. What brings you joy (or used to) when writing? Don’t forget to do these things. Olympic Ice skater Tara Lipinski said she was able to keep practicing for hours on end, day after day because she fell in love with the process of practicing. The act of constructing and working on a piece of writing is practicing. Find a way to fall in love with the process of writing, instead of just focusing on the finished product or the income attached to it. Learning to love the nuts and bolts of the process means you’ll end up loving every minute of your writing work, every day.