What a day in the life of a writer can teach you.
Throughout my time writing, the question I am asked more than ever if how I have time to write as much, as I do, and bring up a family. There is not always a perfect science to writing. On many occasions, my systems let me down. This weekend, my little one turned one. I then hit the depths of writers’ block and for five days I have published nothing. Unheard off in recent months.
That would be my first piece of advice to writers, don’t be too hard on yourselves. There will be days when you can’t write. If you force it, you might start hating the very thing you love. Take time for yourself and your family if you need to. Reducing the guilt over a writing schedule is the first step to being more productive.
The next step is to write when you want and not be held accountable to anyone else. Yes, there is advice that says write every day. Writing every day will build a following quickly, but any amount of writing will build a following. Don’t burn out too soon.
Throughout my writing, I have experimented with many different strategies and publications. Last week I started good news at 10 idea. It was too much committing to a post every day. When I took the pressure off and decided to publish stories when I find them, guess what they were easier to write.
Don’t be frightened to throw away what doesn’t work and pursue what does. Incidentally, people on Medium don’t like good news, the good news posts get a handful of views. Write a decent murder and people love it, the views are in the thousands. Be brave enough to try new things, but also be brave enough to cut away what isn’t working.
Schedule everything. When I get up in the morning I schedule my tweets for the day. The minimum I need to have a presence on social media. When inclined I will add others, but the basic tweets are already there. I use Hootsuite, but several other applications do the same job.
I then check Medium and publish posts from my publications, for other writers.
Once I have completed this I advertise my posts and give back to the groups I belong too. I follow the same routine every day. I post my article link and then check out the work of others, a minimum of two of these. I will either read when time permits or bookmark for bedtime reading. Don’t judge me I take my phone to bed, but only to read on Medium, they are the rules I have set myself.
Throughout the day I am always looking out for ideas for posts and take a couple of seconds to jot them down on Evernotes. Sometimes it is one word, sometimes a small paragraph.
I also use Evernotes for the first draft of my articles. I have tried Medium, it is not for me, especially since the changes. When I get five minutes I open up a draft and write a couple of words. This can be in lunchbreak, waiting for a meeting or appointment or on the loo.
Whenever there are five minutes, write. I mainly do this on my phone which works well when you have two children under 4. Phone writing is one of my biggest tips, it is not for everyone but if you can write on your phone, do.
Once the children have gone to bed, I then work on my first drafts from Evernote. This is where I use programs such as Hemingway and Grammarly to improve the work. Cut out all the waffle and add the research and quotes if needed.
My first draft is on my phone, editing is always on my laptop. One final check of Medium to publish any new drafts on my publications and the laptop is turned off for the day. It is finally time to relax and read. Whether this is Medium posts or a novel this is my chill time and essential to sleep.
So this is how you succeed as a writer.
You carve time out when you can and use the technology available to you.
You are not afraid to let some things go, that aren’t working and try new things. Pursue those that do work.
Schedule work where you can, weekly I schedule my website and magazine post because these are essential. Readers expect them.
These simple ideas can help you become more productive. Once you have become more productive and start seeing the income increase, you will want to write more. It is a continual cycle.
Sure many of us don’t write for money, but we need the incentive of reads to help with our writing. Write what you are good at and what is successful, this will build momentum like never before.
Finally, the most important tip, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and enjoy your writing.