5 Ways to Become a More Productive and Inspired Writer
You Need a "Handy, Dandy" Notebook
Sorry to reference Blue's Clues, but every writer absolutely needs something to jot their ideas in. If you prefer physically writing things down to using technology, you'll want a tiny notebook that you can fit into your pocket, wallet, or bag. It needs to be something that you'll have with you constantly and that you won't be hesitant to pull out at the most surprising of times. You can shop for small idea books here. I personally have used the Notes app on my phone in the past, as well as an app called SomNote. Make sure your notes aren't shared over to someone else via iCloud unless you want them to be. Here some more apps for note-taking and brainstorming:
Get Over Yourself
There's more to jotting down ideas than just having the tools to do so when you feel like it. We all have to get over the awkwardness of pulling out a notebook or whipping out your phone in the middle of seemingly inconvenient locations. You never know when an idea is going to strike, and whether you think it's dynamite or below average, you need to write it down. We all like to think that we will remember the ideas that come to us, but science says that we will often forget these lightning-strike ideas. You're going to have times you say to yourself "This idea is genius. There's absolutely NO chance I'll forget it," but there's still a huge possibility that you will forget it, even if it seems unforgettable in the moment. Your friend might say something clever that strikes an idea while you're out to get coffee. Don't be embarrassed. Write it down. You might be in a busy clothing store or walking down a crowded sidewalk when a winning idea hits you. Don't be embarrassed. Write it down. You won't regret it when you have tons of fresh and exciting material to work with when you sit down to write. We can't force ourselves to come up with great ideas. They're going to come to us throughout our day.
Get over the embarrassment of seemingly awkward times to jot down an idea. Get over your belief that there's no way you'll forget a stellar idea. Get over your hesitation to write down ALL your ideas: even the ones you don't think are that great at first. They can grow.
I have found that I am most excited about writing when I'm reading a good book. Reading will inspire you to produce something that affects people and change the world, just as the author you're reading has done. The more exposure you get to various styles, genres, characters, and voices, the more ideas you'll have for your personal experimentation with writing. Keep that idea book out and ready while you're reading! Here's what others have to say about the inspiration reading will provide you for your writing:
It's difficult to fit reading into a busy schedule, so it is necessary to schedule time for it. Set it up as something you look forward to rather than dread. Choose a book that will keep you interested and consider reading your relaxation time. Even if you can only schedule an hour or two a week, stick to those reading goals. Then, when you have a lighter week or you're doing some traveling, you can get more reading in. You can also purchase audio books and listen to them in the car (great for those with long commutes) or while you're working (great for those with jobs that allow you to listen to music etc. while working.)
You've Got a Date with a Pencil
Speaking of scheduling, the best way to assure that you'll get adequate writing time into your week is by scheduling it. If you can, choose a few times a week that can be consistent with your schedule--for example, you may schedule writing time from 8 AM-9 AM on Mondays and Tuesdays and 4 PM-6 PM on Saturdays. Set reminders for yourself on your phone if you need to. If you need extra motivation, you can always have someone else in on it--you can hire someone or just ask a friend or family member to remind you or to ask to see your writing every so often. They can encourage you to keep your writing dates, help you brainstorm ideas, and give you a fresh take on what you've already written.
Open Your Eyes
I've been taught over and over again that the way to become inspired is to open one's eyes to the world. As you walk, drive, watch people, and complete your daily activities, be aware of all that is around you. Try to view things in a new way, or think about things you see happen for longer than you normally would. Write stories in your head based on what you see around you. Try to come up with metaphors to describe the seemingly ordinary occurrences that pass before you. Get out your notebook or app, because you will likely come up with plots, characters, storylines, phrases, words, and metaphors as you observe. If you have times you know you're going to be sitting back and able to observe as you move to your next task, set alarms or reminders on your phone or watch to remind you to be observant. The most difficult part of becoming more observant is remembering to work on it on a daily basis. Here are some more ideas to help you to become more observant:
Still Not Satisfied?
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