It’s not the writing so much. It’s the starting.
When you’re highly involved in a piece you’re writing, you forget about outside distractions. You think only about the paragraph, the line, the word choice. You’re entirely focused on what you’re doing and the goal at hand.
Write a blog post—or a section of your book that will become a blog post.
Most people forget that the hardest part of writing is starting the process. How do you get yourself away from the TV or the smartphone and in front of a blank computer screen? The following productivity hacks ensure you can fight that vital half of every writer’s daily struggle.
Work in Big Chunks
“Just sit down and write for one minute!”
It sounds like good advice. And if it gets you started, it can be useful advice. But you’d be amazed at how powerful one single distraction can be. You’re far more likely to do productive work if you can ride the momentum of writing as long as possible.
Being overly busy, according to the Annual Review of Psychology, can sap that precious mind-fuel that drives creativity and willpower. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Instead, get yourself to write by focusing on solving one problem for your reader, not on what you can do for the next five minutes. Chances are, you’ll find yourself increasingly focused by the time you identify the solution. And you’ll end up with more words on the page.
Create a Deadline and Stick To It
According to Seth Godin, a prolific writer who also maintains a popular blog, setting a deadline is the key to his productivity. “The deadline focuses the mind,” says Godin. A deadline forces you to rethink your strategy (not writing and sitting in front of the TV instead) in the context of an overall timeline you’ve established. When the two don’t match up, it has the end-result of making you uncomfortable.
You solve that discomfort by writing.
Build a Routine Using the Trigger-Response Method
Our brains don’t always work the way we think they do. We like to believe that our minds are machines of free will making conscious decisions all the live-long day.
Instead, our brains are more like trained circus animals, succumbing to the instincts and notions that we’ve conditioned into ourselves on a day-in, day-out basis. Ever wonder why you start to get hungry after you open the refrigerator door? You’ve built a routine for yourself.
Build a routine based on writing instead. Doing so requires two items: a trigger (such as a physical stimuli) and a response (you sitting down and starting to write). Even something as simple as lighting a particular scented candle when you write can be a powerful trigger. You strengthen your neural pathways by always burning the candle when you write; then you associate that smell with the joy you get from writing.
Trick Your Brain If You Have To
Sure, your brain is what you use to write, but it’s also your own worst enemy—if you let it work against you. Figure out the specific triggers that make you want to write—or make you want to sit down and watch TV. The more you know about how you and your mind work, the more you can get yourself to write.
How do you get your butt in the seat and write? Tell me about it in a comment below.
About the Author
Dan Kenitz is a freelance writer and ghostwriter from Wisconsin who helps individuals and companies build their brands through valuable content. www.empirewriter.com
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