The ideas are there – they pop into your head while you’re in the shower, or in the car, or just as you’re about to fall asleep at night. But then when it’s time to get them down on paper they feel elusive. You’ve set aside this time to be productive, but the creative juices feel like they’ve hit a dam. No matter what kind of work you do, feeling your most productive during work hours can be a challenge. For writers, this can make or break your project. While these principals could work for almost anyone trying to complete a project, here are a few suggestions specifically for writers to create their best work.
1. Consider when you have the best energy.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s important to remember the basics. Do you love the quiet morning hours when the house is still quiet? Are all your pistons firing midday? Or do your ideas flow out of you easily after the sun has set? Consider when your best creative energy is swirling and try to set aside a routine of writing during that time of day. Discuss your plan with any roommates, spouses, or kids that may share your residence so that the whole group can hopefully prioritize your work during that time. My most productive hours are from about 8am-11pm – the space between morning coffee and lunch. How about you?
2. Have a snack.
There’s nothing that can tank a mood or a storyline like a case of hangriness! Fuel your body and your creative spirit with some nourishing snacks while you work. Avoid too much caffeine or sugar so that you don’t end up with a post-snack glycemic crash out. Choose something with some protein to keep you going, some carbs to keep your energy up, and maybe some natural sugars. Snacks like almonds, cheese & crackers, or sliced fruit are some of my favorites. What are your favorite healthy snacks to keep you going while you write?
3. Take breaks.
If you’re lucky enough to find your creative groove, it can be tempting to keep working endlessly with no notice of the time. Getting into this kind of flow can be great, but working for too long at one time can end up unnecessarily draining you for other activities or later writing. Consider setting an alarm to remind you to get up and stretch, walk around the yard, or make a quick phone call so that your body doesn’t become permanently stuck in the writing position. I seem to do best if I move my body a little bit about every 90 minutes. What’s that magic number for you?
4. Finally, keep your next day’s work brewing in the back of your head.
Whether you reluctantly end your day of writing in the middle of a great section of story or close your computer wondering if you’ll ever have an idea again, consider what you’d like to accomplish tomorrow before calling it a day. That way your creative self can continue simmer on the thought. It might develop into a more clear thought before tomorrow arrives. It can also help you get started quicker the next day when you’re mentally prepared for the task at hand.
These things have helped me be more productive. What are some other ways you structure your days for success? Tweet me and let me know!