How To Develop A Productive Writing Process
Whether you are writing, painting, knitting, or filming videos, getting inspired and creative plays an important role. However, sometimes we may find ourselves in a slump.
As someone who tries to maintain a consistent writing schedule, I also struggle with maintaining my progress once I hit a creative block. How do we upkeep our productivity without burning ourselves out or guilt-tripping ourselves to begin again?
Here are some ideas that helped me to maintain my productivity during the writing process:
1. Narrow down your ideas or tasks.
Sometimes I find myself at a standstill because I have too many things going on in my head at once. I would have multiple ‘starter’ ideas, but I have not chosen which ones I need or would like to develop.
Narrowing down your ideas helps bring your mind back to focus on the present. What is at the top of my priority list right now? Divide your tasks based on obligations vs leisure: urgent tasks or tasks that I can work on in my own time. Narrowing it down helps you to stay focused on your current task and prevents your mind from running everywhere while nothing gets completed. Completing one task at a time is better than overthinking everything else you have to do and feeling ‘paralyzed’ from the stress.
Check out this article that has further tips on narrowing down your ideas!
2. Set your own timeline to complete your task.
There are times when I have personally felt intimidated by the deadline of a task. Instead of thinking about how I can tackle it, I would feel an overwhelming sense of panic that stems from completing the task by that time – rather than the quality of the content.
One practice I found helpful in reducing the pressure is to set a ‘personal’ deadline (which would be before the actual deadline!). By doing this, I feel more in control of the situation. It also gives me time to amend or make changes since it is before the actual deadline. Additionally, I feel an extra sense of accomplishment for completing a task way before it is expected. The ‘extra time’ allows me to either move on to the next task or take a break before the next thing on my list.
3. Create your own productive workspace.
During the pandemic, we’ve seen the rise of people working from home. More and more articles are written on personalizing your workspace or product recommendations to decorate your workspace. From cool lamps to mechanical keyboards, there are many ways that we can decorate our workspace to fuel our motivation to work.
Some of the basics of having a productive workspace would be:
- Avoid having a messy desk! Make sure that it is clean. Only have what is necessary on your desk.
- Find a quiet space to work (or have some white noise in the background if that is more comfortable for you!).
- Add some greenery! Get a cute little plant for your desk.
- Make sure you have enough space to work! Having a comfortable chair, enough desk space, and less clutter can help you to stay focused.
4. Have an accountability partner.
Holding ourselves accountable and being responsible for our tasks is one thing. However, having other people hold us accountable is another option we can consider as well.
When I get stumped by a task, I would tell my family or friends about what I’m working on so that I can be held accountable to finish it. By communicating with another person, there is an added sense of responsibility to complete my work. Additionally, talking to someone else about what I’m doing may also inspire more ideas. Your accountability partner may be able to provide different perspectives or ideas you might not have thought of! You do not have to take in every suggestion, but you do not need to limit yourself either.
5. Be realistic with the time you assign to your tasks.
If I push all my tasks to the very last minute, I wouldn’t feel happy about the process as I was rushing through it. Though the Hemingway effect talks about being motivated by the lack of completion, it is also unrealistic to wait for inspiration to come before completing a task.
Be realistic in setting the time to complete your tasks. This will also allow you to enjoy the process of creating more!
How can we generate ideas consistently during the writing process?
While writing, it’s almost inevitable to stumble into writer’s block. Here are some ways you can generate ideas consistently to help you overcome it.
a) Make a spin wheel of ideas.
Remember those colourful spin wheels at carnivals? Instead of having options for prizes, you can jot down activities or genres in their place!
For example, my spin wheel could have these activities to inspire my ideas:
- Call a friend to discuss an idea
- Watch one episode of a series
- Go on a walk
For genres, I could jot down keywords such as ‘psychology’, ‘economics’, ‘law’, and ‘politics’. These keywords could kickstart ideas to flow. Did I think about this from a political perspective? How would this impact the economy? Will the public’s well-being be improved by this idea?
b) Read or watch the news.
I find that reading the news (or watching/listening to content) inspires ideas as well. Not just the news – journal articles, comics, reviews, and other forms of content too! By gaining more knowledge, it encourages me to think outside the box.
I hope these tips can remind you to take up the space you need, as well as inspire you in your writing process. Having a change of environment or inviting a change in perspective may inspire you as well! In order to keep our productivity going, being realistic about the expectations of our work as well as rest are both vital in the process.
Looking for something with an extra Crunch to it? Read more here about how to stay disciplined when our motivation dies off. If you want to become a better writer, check out these realistic and actionable tips on how to improve.