Have you ever told somebody you were a writer, and they responded with, "Oh, that sounds like fun!"
Maybe you made a face and said, "Sure..."
If so, you're not alone. Just because we love to write doesn't mean it's not stressful. In fact, many of us go months to years without writing because it's so mentally draining. And when you've got a deadline or a story idea you have to get out of your head, a creative block induced by repetitiveness, boredom, and stress is the last thing you need.
Check out these very simple tips to writing successfully.
1. Write Every Day
This might seem obvious, but the key here is to creating a habit.
Like exercising, writing every day might seem like a chore at first. And the truth is that it might be! But whether it's on your computer, in a notebook, or on a typewriter from the early 1900s.
Write. Every. Day.
2. Set A Goal
With that being said, set a goal when you write every day. It can be small, like writing 200 words a day. Every single word gets you closer to the next step, right?
Heck, even science sides with this. Writing things down happens on two levels: external storage and encoding. External storage is easy to explain: you’re storing the information contained in your goal in a location (e.g. a piece of paper) that is very easy to access and review at any time.
3. Write At The Same Time
The truth is that we're habitual creatures. But even so, we have to find which habits work best for us. Writing every day? Great! Meeting your goals every day? Even better!
But when works best for you? Toni Morrison had a great piece of advice on this for her students:
“I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are at their best, creatively."
Personally, I do best writing in the morning as soon as I get up. I'm writing before I even heat up the coffee pot because I need to go, go, go. By the time midday rolls around, I am completely out of the zone, which is why knowing my best creative time is essential.
4. Minimize Distractions
You know what I'm talking about. Close Twitter, get off Facebook, stop browsing Instagram. In fact, close the Internet altogether! When you get stuck, you might naturally fill in the bare time by scrolling through your news feed.
But nothing is worse for creativity -- and creating habits -- than this type of distraction. In fact, a survey done by CareerBuilder says that texting and the Internet are the top two most harmful distractions when it comes to work.
For those who need a little help in the distraction department, you can check out some popular writing apps and aids to minimize the temptations of Twitter.
5. Take A Break
Writing is strenuous. It's hard to force your brain to be creative, especially when it doesn't want to be. So, when you've hit a wall, go take a break. Psychologists stress how important it is to step away from work. When you don't, it could have serious stress effects -- and the last thing you want is resenting your own work.
Have a cup of coffee. Go for a walk. Read a chapter from the book on your desk.
And, sometimes, it's best to just log off for the day and come back tomorrow.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Go forth and spend it wisely. Good luck!