As an aspiring journalist and a content writer for the past couple of years, I have constantly been on the lookout for new and improved techniques to fine-tune my penmanship qualities. All of us can use some tips and tricks from the best of the lot, because there is no end to learning. It is this quest for learning that has led me to discover some of the greatest contemporary writers, their works and some of their highly sought after skills when it comes to writing.
Being productive is what we aspire to be, and if you are struggling with it, like me, read on to know what the masters have to say in this regard.
Prioritize your projects
Life can be a little busy at times (or maybe all the time) and in such instances, our writing projects can slip right to the bottom of our checklists. Don’t worry, even famous writers have faced similar challenges, but they managed to keep writing come what may. Not everyone has a lot of time in their hand, so write even if it’s just for half an hour a week. Like Flannery O’Connor says, “I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place.”
Any task will seem mammoth-like if you are an avid procrastinator. Take a lesson from Graham Green who remarks, “In the old days, at the beginning of a book, I’d set myself 500 words a day, but now I’d put the mark to about 300 words.” Divide your project into bite-sized pieces for ease of work and set a goal and STICK WITH IT. It will not seem like such a big deal after a point in time.
Optimize your time
Isn’t it frustrating staring at the blank page with a blinking cursor and the only thing on your mind is the delicious dinner from last night? Well. Toni Morrison has this to say, “I tell my students to ask themselves, what does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?”
Find a setting that gets your creative juices flowing, for me, pin drop silence works the best with my phone switched off!
Overworking the brain is really not a good idea. After spending long hours pumping content, your brain is meant to go dry. Get up from your desk, be what may and do something that is relaxing. According to Orson Scott Card, “Take care of your body. Writing is a sedentary business; it’s easy for many of us to get fat and sluggish. Your brain is attached to the rest of your body. You can’t do your best work when you’re weak or in ill health.”
However, none of these wise words will help any of us unless we actually quit procrastinating, pick ourselves up and start writing. It only takes the first step to move mountains.