When I first contemplated writing full-time, I loved the idea that I wouldn’t need many tools. As a former nurse, I had become accustomed to entering patient rooms loaded down with all manner of gadgets, without which the job couldn’t be done. I’ve come to realize that to be a productive writer, you need tools, too. They won’t save lives, but they will save time and maximize your output.
notebook or journal
“If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads,
nobody but you.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
Keeping a writer’s notebook (or journal) can boost your productivity in 3 ways:
*Jot down ideas. You will always have writing ideas. Without a place to record them, they’ll be forgotten. When you sit to write, instead of wasting time trying to remember thoughts and inspirations, simply open your journal, pick an idea you’ve already made note of, and write.
*Use it as a writing warm-up so that when you start your ‘professional’ writing, you’re already getting into flow.
*Develop your writing voice. I credit my Writer’s Journal for helping me connect with my true writing voice. When you write from that space, your have an endless stream of ideas and inspiration.
When you’re writing, you shouldn’t be doing anything else. It’s not the time for fiddling around looking for music or stopping mid-way to find something different to listen to. You want to avoid breaking the flow of writing as much as possible. Prepare a list of music (or several playlists) that you can play at every writing session.My music playlist helps with focus and triggers my mind that ‘it’s time to write.’
A few music apps I’m digging:
I also create playlists in iTunes
(*If listening to music while writing is not your thing, skip this suggestion.)
Social media and email are always just a click away. If the temptation is too great and you stop writing to ‘quick’y check email, turn off your notifications and use a distraction blocker to hide all icons. Here are a few apps that create an ideal distraction-free writing environment on your computer:
There’ll be times when you conduct research for your writing. But there’ll also be times when you stumble on material while doing something else. This may be articles, books, quotes that can be used as resource material for your writing. Save them all in one container such as Google docs or Evernote or MS OneNote. Then when you need them, they’re all in one place. No wasting time. No searching.
You can also use a physical space for this, such as a notebook (see #1) or create a collection in a bullet journal.
I time every writing session. It helps me to track my word counts (when I’m writing a book) and helps me stay focused. It may not work for everyone, but it’s a powerful motivator when I set my timer for 25-minute blocks and focus on JUST writing for that time. Knowing that the timer is counting down gives me an added push to focus and get as much written as possible in those 25 minutes.
I use the timer app on my phone. There are also online timers, such as Stopwatch.
I’ve shared 5 of my favorite productivity-boosting tools with you. I chose just 5 intentionally. It’s easy to get caught up planning your writing, collating tools, and getting everything perfect. But doing the work (writing) is what matters most. Don’t get caught on the wheel of preparation. It’s hard to get off. Make a quick decision as to whether you’ll try these tools or not. Then…write.
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