Sometimes being a writer requires, well, writing. (Who knew?) But sometimes all artists have a hard time making sure to make art consistently. Obstacles of all sorts appear frequently and our creativity sometimes seems under Loki’s influence. So we must learn to push through the road blocks, even when we’re not feeling particularly creative or inspired. A little stubbornness and self-determination will build up persistance in getting the thing done. But in order to do that, we sometimes need to eliminate or add certain things to our lifestyle. So here is some advice on how to stay productive, organized into six different points.
1. Limit your time spent online.
It’s important to blog and post on social media and create a distinctive platform and online presence for you as a writer, so that you can connect with other people and and attain a following of future readers and loyal supporters. But blogging and social media is there to promote you and your writing. If you’re not writing, what could you possibly be marketing? Remember, it’s the actual act of writing yourself that will get you to that goal of publication that you’ve been blogging and posting about all this time. Sometimes even taking a break from virtual society and online marketing is a huge step toward your goal in productive writing.
2. Pursue other forms of writing besides your story.
This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but believe me, dabbling in other writing categories rather than just your main story is so helpful; it’s a good way to keep writing and not get burnt out on one project. Journal. Try a hand at some poetry. Write a paragraph or a page from a genre you don’t typically write in. Experiment with opening scenes, write a random piece of witty dialog or try some writing exercises found on Pinterest or posts on writing websites or blogs. Even taking a bit of a break from your main story to dabble in other forms of writing will equip you with a fresh mind and a desire to get words on the page when you get back to it.
3. Find a place that boosts your creativity.
Certain places do cause creativity leaks. For me, cramped spaces and lots of noisy people are great sources of distraction. Move around the house, go outside, find an enviornment in a coffee shop or a library that you find promotes rather than suppresses your concentration and imagination. And if you decide to sit down and write in a spaceship, make sure there is always tea (or coffee) at hand.
4. If you’re taking a break from the internet…then by all means, TAKE A BREAK FROM THE INTERNET!
If you’re taking a break, you make sure you take that break. Believe it or not, there was a time in history where there was no internet, no cell phones, no TVs or computers, and guess what: people actually survived. I honestly think that this is the most important point in this post. Actually turning off the internet and removing certain apps or shutting down your devices will make the avoidance of online distractions much easier. You can’t just sit down at your laptop to write and tell yourself not to go online. That simply doesn’t work—it’s right there at your fingertips, to be opened in a few clicks. I realize that writing does require going online to research or endlessly scrolling through Pinterest looking for something you forgot about two hours ago. But sometimes you need to be hardcore about the “no internet” decision and write using Pages or Microsoft Word or Google Docs Offline. Research can come later; it’s important right now to stay foucsed and write.
Ultimately, the Internet easily becomes a waste of time. Write. Blog. Read a book. Take pictures. Hang out with family. Do cartwheels. Do something.
5. Make a writing routine.
Find a time that works best for you to write. Maybe your schedule works best to get an hour of writing done in the morning, so go to bed early and set an alarm for 5 a.m. so you can write while everyone’s still asleep. When making a schedule, try to incorporate in one thing at a time. For example, don’t try to squeeze in everything you do in an enire day on your first day of your schedule. Start with one thing, such as writing for an hour in the morning. The next day, schedule exercise in with writing. The day after, add meal preperation to that schedule. If you include everything on the first day, your new daily routine can get quickly get overwhelming.
6. Take care of yourself and do something new.
Admit it. Being productive doesn’t mean doing that thing you want to be productive about all day long. Take breaks so that you’re not sitting down at a desk constantly. Move around every half hour. Pursue a healthy lifestyle. Go on hikes. Make a water consumption chart because how much water you drink definitely affects your brain power and energy levels. Take the time to do something different and work a half hour to try something new into your schedule every day. Maybe it’s cooking or photography or sketching or walking the beach or painting a wall in your room or graphic design or designing book covers or filming book trailers or music videos. OH THE POSSIBILITIES. Just writing all of these down makes me inspired to want to DO THEM NOW. Being a productive writer doesn’t mean being productive only in writing, but also in anything else your creative self is itching to do. Listen to what your body needs and take time to try something different. Taking breaks from writing will give you a fresher mind and an increased willignness to sit down and write again.
I’m still discovering ways to stay productive not only in writing, but in everything else I do. Of course, there’s no way to actually prevent times when you have no motivation to be productive at all, and instead just sit around wishing you could—I’ve been there many times. But these tips could help you in the long run and help decrease the severity of those days when you hit rock bottom. Because there’s only two ways to go when you’re down, and one of those is digging down even farther. We want the reverse to happen.
All that to say, there are so many other writers who have faced similar situations of low creativity battery and battled days of no productivity, and I am always on the lookout from tips and feedback from you guys! Cheers!