I’ve always written, but I’ve never really considered myself a writer, and I definitely wasn’t sure if I wanted to write in a professional capacity. As I begin to pursue freelance content and copywriting and blogging, I realized that I’ll need to take advantage of any free moment that I have and set up some routines that will make me as productive as possible in the free time that I do have.
As a wife, mom, and full-time teacher, free time is scarce, so I’ve been working on lots of different ways to up my productivity.
This is a list of four things that I’ve been doing recently that have helped me be more productive. If you’re looking for ways to increase productivity as a writer, this is the post for you!
Set Up a Routine
Set up a routine that makes you excited to write. For instance, I started getting up early, so I can write or do any other freelance work or inquiries before my kids and husband wake up.
For me, part of the morning routine is getting it set up before I go to bed at night. I make sure that the self-timer on my coffee pot is set, and I set out my coffee cup and coconut oil, so I’m not clanging around in the morning waking up the house as I fumble for a coffee mug.
I used to write at the kitchen counter, but for me, that wasn’t very inviting. Once I started sitting on the couch and snuggling under a blanket, the thought of leaving my bed wasn’t quite so devastating. I make sure that the blanket is in the right spot, so I can just grab it in the early morning darkness, cover up, and start writing.
I set up my computer and my notebooks and make sure I have a pen, and then when I wake up in the morning I can just pour my coffee, feed the animals, and then sit down and start right away, and I don’t have to worry about gathering all my materials and shuffling around. I’m just ready to go.
I write or work for about two hours, and then I do a 15 minute workout, which is much easier to fit in than a 30 minute or hour workout. After that, I’m ready to shower, or more recently, get my son set up with milk and a cartoon then go shower.
The more I do this (it’s been about 2 months) the more I’m starting to look forward to it. It’s becoming less of a task or chore that has to be completed and increasingly something that I’m excited to get out of bed for. I think the routines that I have set up have really nurtured the desire to get up and get started.
**After writing this last night, my daughter was up all night with a cold, so I didn’t get to do any of this routine today which means I’m taking extra advantage of nap times!**
Your routine can be anything that gets you excited to write. Maybe it’s having a designated work space or lighting candles or drinking tea. It could be going to a coffee shop or putting on some music. Whatever it is, the more excited to get about writing, the more productive you’ll be when you actually sit down to do it!
Talk to Text
I’ve had students in the past that wrote their essays with talk-to-text, and it seemed to work well for them, so I decided to try it for blog posts and general idea dumping.
I have a 15 minute commute to and from work, and while that doesn’t seem like much, it started to bother me that with limited time to work on side projects, I was spending 30 minutes a day (of quiet alone time at that) not working on anything.
I started using the talk-to-text feature on the notes app yesterday. Yesterday’s dictation was really bad. I haven’t looked back at it yet, but I’m assuming I won’t understand any of it. But I think the simple act of speaking it out loud solidified some of the ideas in my head. Turns out, I find speaking out loud into a cell phone with no one on the other end incredibly awkward. Who knew?
I find it easier to write my thoughts rather than speak them. If I’m in a group or in front of a class, I have no problem but actually structuring a writing via talk-to-text is a little more difficult for me as I’m more visual, but I’m hoping that with a little practice I’ll be able to write my blog posts this way, on the way to work, talking to my phone like a crazy person with no one on the other end.
I’m wondering if this might look different for someone writing fiction. It seems like a great way to talk through plot, character relationships, or conflicts.
I haven’t been great at this lately, but I think it would help me get things a little more organized before I sit down to actually write, thus making the writing flow a little more smoothly, ultimately making me more productive.
I’m thinking of doing talk-to-text and focusing on more of an outline rather than talking out the entire thing.
The thing about an outline is that it can get some ideas out of your head. I find that there are so many ideas swirling around my head that if I don’t get them out, they just swirl ans swirl and some get lost.
Outlining can give me space in my head to come up with more ideas that will then start to swirl around!
I just started this today and already love it!
There’s a Sticky Notes app on my computer that I used to record a Henry Ford quote while I was reading, and I also started a To-Do List on one.
I love paper and pencil, but I find myself getting kind of scattered between notebooks and planners, and then when I’m on my computer, I have to remember where I put what list or open up a new Doc or keep it all in my head. All of that hinders productivity.
Keeping lists and quotes on my desktop makes them super easy to access. Just minimize the program, and there it is!