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5 tips to write more efficiently

Amy Twigge

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You may be a copywriter, journalist, screenwriter, aspiring author or you may be writing a thesis. Whatever the reason is you write, there’s an art to it. It can be an enjoyable experience – even cathartic – but it doesn’t always feel that way.

It can be hard and frustrating. You may have lost your creative mojo or an impending deadline may have ignited a raging case of writer’s block.

Whatever your situation, here are some useful tips to increase productivity and efficiency with your writing:

1. Step away from the laptop!

That’s right, step away from writing. A big part of writing is the research, whether you’re a copywriter writing a blog or an author writing fiction. If you’re struggling to write, it may be because you’re not ready to put pen to paper yet.

Do your research, find supporting data, make notes and brainstorm. Step away from writing until you’re ready and eager to get going. The quality of your writing will be better for it!

2. Find your writing process

At university, I’d often find myself writing essays until 2 or 3am in the morning. I never questioned why I was still working while my housemates were sleeping (or revelling!). I never questioned it because I always finished the essays and I was (almost) always happy with the work! I’d eventually go to sleep and would go back to edit after breakfast the next morning.

In my adult life, I still find I’m much more productive and inspired in the afternoons and evenings so I try to embrace that. I may have to schedule calls or emails with copywriting clients that fits in with their timetables, but I don’t have to do that when I’m writing.

Depending on your work or family life this may not be an option but if you’re able to, write during the time that you’re most creative. If you’re not sure, test it!

Try writing at 5am before everybody else gets up, in intervals throughout the day or in the evenings. Test to see when you have the most energy and headspace to write and the concentration to do so. You’ll be much more efficient and will be able to use the other times of day for other things. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the 9am-5pm just because other people do.

As well as the time of day, test different environments to work in: busy or quiet rooms; public or private places; music or no music? We all work differently so find your sweet spot!

3. Don’t fight it

If you find yourself reaching for your phone every 5 minutes, doing every possible job other than writing or putting on the kettle for the hundredth time then you may just need a break.

Go outside, ring a friend, allow yourself to scroll on your phone for ten minutes or play with your dog. Whatever you need, do it. Set a time limit and go back to write when you’re done.

If you’re in control of your own timetable you may just need to set more of a routine. It can be too easy to get sucked into a never ending cycle of procrastination. Allow yourself a break but be strict with the rest of your time.

4. Create a ‘To Ignore’ list

Everyone loves a ‘To Do’ list. But have you tried a ‘To ignore’ list?

Once you’ve found the creative time and space that works for you, you need to protect it. Make a note of anything that might distract you and ignore it.

If you write better in the mornings ignore calls and emails during that time. Turn down social invitations and avoid other work or ‘life admin’ during that time. Allocate it to your writing and use the rest of your day for the other bits.

5. Use resources to help with writing productively

There are endless apps and resources available to improve your productivity and efficiency in writing.

If timekeeping is an issue you can use trackers such as Rescue Time or Focus Booster, a timer that applies the Pomodoro Technique to create time intervals to write.

Ommwriter is an option for those who are easily distracted, transforming your screen into a distraction-free space to write away from other windows. Great for minimalists who enjoy a relaxing audio track to work to!

If Ommwriter is too extreme, or if you need the internet to work, Freedom allows you to continue using browsers but enables you to block distracting websites or apps. You can even schedule when to block them.

If you’re really struggling, there are plenty of courses to help you improve your writing habits including this free course by The National Writing Centre.

Hopefully, this will have provided some useful nuggets of information. If you have to write for your business but don’t actually enjoy it, you can always outsource it to someone who does!

First published on poweredbywords.co.uk

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