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7 Steps to Go From Slacker to Writing Machine

7 Steps to Go From Slacker to Writing Machine

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    We all love being lazy from time to time, and that’s perfectly alright, as long as it’s done in moderation. However, some of us are less disciplined than others, which means our “lazy” time spills over into our daily obligations. Writers, for instance, are extremely notorious for being lazy and prone to procrastination, which is perhaps best evident through their portrayal in the media. Fictional movie and TV characters such as Californication’s Hank Moody, or Secret Window’s Mort Rainey immediately spring to mind.

    While this image is certainly exaggerated, a lot of writers could use some help when it comes to organizing their time and improving their creative output. Since writing is often seen as heavily dependent on bouts of inspiration and ideas, the writers’ approach to occasional dry spells or writer’s block would be to wait it out, and not do much in the meantime.

    The good news is, not only can you make yourself more productive during those less-inspired periods, but you also can avoid them altogether, and it doesn’t require you to do anything revolutionary, other than making some tweaks to your usual approach and adopting some useful writing habits. No e-books, no magic pills, just 7 essential tips you can use to turn yourself into a writing machine you were supposed to be all along.

    1. Write Down Your Ideas

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    1. Write

      As a writer, you are probably aware that great ideas are hard to come by. There are two ways you can deal with this. The first one would be to do some serious brainstorming, organize and collect your thoughts, and distill them down to ideas you can actually use. The second one would be to always write down those ideas which appear inside your mind at the most unexpected moments and situations.

      Although it may seem like there is absolutely no way you’re going to forget about them, you probably will. You can fix this by writing them down using a piece of pen and paper, your smartphone, or specialized note-taking apps. Even though you may not use them right away, it’s great to have some of them in reserve.

      2. Set a Daily Word Count

      2. Word Count

        Making a decision to write more is commendable, but it only works in theory, because it’s pretty flexible. A better, smarter way of going about it would be to establish a minimum daily word count and fulfill that quota no matter what. Or, you can write for a certain number of hours. This is especially effective if you have a huge workload ahead of you, or if you are writing a novel.

        The idea of tackling such a huge project can be scary, but if you break it down into smaller sections and write a little bit each day, by the end of the month, you will be surprised at how much you’ve gotten done. Make sure the goal is realistic: 500 or 1000 words a day should do fine in the beginning.

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        3. Start Writing at the Same Time Every Day

        3. Time

          One of the reasons why you’re a writer is because you don’t do routines and constrictions, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid having any discipline and structure in your work. You can train yourself to be productive. Along with sticking to a certain word count, another way to make yourself more productive as a writer would be to start working at the same time each day. It will be hard at first, because you have to resist giving into the urge to give yourself and break and make an exception just that one time, which quickly snowballs into full-on procrastination.

          4. Create Your Very Own Writing Space

          4. Space

            If it’s possible, create a workplace for yourself inside your home that will allow you to focus on writing and nothing else, with no distractions that might hinder your progress. Keep your desk clutter-free and populate it with items that will inspire you. Make sure that it’s not your bedroom, the kitchen, or any room with a TV. If you find it too hard to concentrate within the comfort of your own home, give co-working communities a shot.

            5. Limit Non-Essential Activities and Rituals

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            5. Hobbies

              This doesn’t mean that the only thing in your life should be writing, but you can make more time for it if you drop some of the numerous activities which may not seem too time-consuming, but they add up to a significant chunk of time. For example, you can limit the number of hours you spend volunteering, or drop some unpaid writing projects you are currently involved in. Instead of soaking in the bathtub for an hour or two, take a quick shower. Avoid lengthy Netflix binges, watching several movies a week, or going out during business hours.

              6. Follow Writing Blogs

              6. Blogs

                There are countless blogs out there dedicated to writing and helping writers improve their writing skills, grammar, and productivity. Aside from gaining access to useful materials, such as articles, e-books, or webinars, you can also network with other writers and exchange ideas. Also, writing blogs usually contain reviews of writing-related apps which can speed up the writing process, and do some of the work for you, so check them out if you are struggling to be more productive.

                7. Edit after You Are Done Writing

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                  There are several reasons why you should avoid editing your work right away. Once you find yourself in that mode when you are churning out words so fast your fingers can’t seem to keep up with your brain, you should milk it for all it’s worth. Interrupting that process in order to edit is a huge mistake, because you can edit even if you don’t feel particularly creative.

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                  Also, it’s a good idea to set some distance between you and your work, so you can come back to it and edit it with a fresh mind. You’ll find you will be able to spot errors more efficiently and polish your writing the day after, provided that you don’t have a deadline looming over your head.

                  Featured photo credit: letters-keys-typewriter-retro via PixabayPerson animated, The Hunger Games, Now, Cat, 80s, Blog, Movie via Giphy

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

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                  Last Updated on June 13, 2019

                  15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful

                  15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful

                  Knowledge is power, and you’re going to need a lot of it if you’re going to be able to steer your business to success.

                  Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 15 best entrepreneurs books to get inspirations about success and grow your business.

                  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

                    This book has been dubbed the Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature, and it was actually the first book that gave a prescription of what it takes to be a winner.

                    Napoleon Hill draws from the stories of millionaires like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, and Thomas Edison to illustrate the principles he put forth.

                    Get the book here!

                    2. The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

                      A lot of startups end up failing, but many of these failures are actually avoidable. The Lean Startup provides a different approach that is now being adopted all over the world and changing the way that companies are developed and products are being launched.

                      In The Lean Startup, Eric Reis describes what is required for a company to penetrate the fog of uncertainty in order to discover a path to a sustainable and successful business.

                      Get the book here!

                      3. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

                        In a revised edition of the 150,000-copy bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber refutes some of the myths that surround starting your own business and shows just how commonplace assumptions can end up getting in the way of being able to run a successful business.

                        Gerber succeeds in walking the reader through the steps that occur in the life of a business, from infancy, through the pains of growing as an adolescent, to the perspective of the mature entrepreneur.

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                        Get the book here!

                        4. Rework by Jason Fried

                          Most of the business books that you get today will give you the same advice: draft a business plan, study the competition, look for investors, and all that.

                          However, Rework shows you a more effective, easier and faster means of succeeding when running a business. By reading it, you’ll be able to know why some plans are harmful, why you don’t really need to get investors, and why you’re better of shutting out your competition.

                          Get the book here!

                          5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

                            This is one of the most successful motivational books in history, selling well over 15 million copies since it was released in 1936. The book is timeless, and it appeals to businesses, self-help startups, and general readers.

                            Carnegie believes that a lot of successes come from an ability to communicate rather than having brilliant insights. In his book, he teaches how to value others and make them feel appreciated and loved.

                            Get the book here!

                            6. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

                              Through this amazing book, Malcolm Gladwell is able to take the reader on an intellectual journey through the world of ‘outliers’. He asks the question of what truly differentiates high-achievers.

                              His answer to this question is that we tend to pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and less attention to where they are actually from.

                              Get the book here!

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                              7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

                                This is the best personal finance book ever written. It tells the story of Kiyosaki and his two fathers; his real father, and that of his best friend (his rich dad), as well as how the two men helped him shape his opinions on money and investing.

                                It refutes the myth that you need to earn high to become rich, and it distinguishes between working for money and having money work for you.

                                Get the book here!

                                8. The Ascent of Money: The Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

                                  Niall Ferguson, in this book, follows the money to tell the story behind the evolution of the word’s financial system, from the beginning way back in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest occurrences in what he had dubbed Planet Finance.

                                  Fergusson also reveals financial history as the backstory behind our very own history, with an argument that the evolution of debt and credit is as significant as the history of technological innovation and the rise of civilization.

                                  Get the book here!

                                  9. Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

                                    Michael Lewis landed a job at Salomon Brothers after getting out of the London School of Economics and Princeton within three years, he had risen to the rank of bond salesman, making millions for the firm and cashing out steadily.

                                    Liar’s Poker is the amalgamation of these years — a look behind the scenes at one of the most turbulent times in American business. His book is Lewis’s account of an era where greed and gluttony were the order of the day.

                                    Get the book here!

                                    10. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Michael H. Pink

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                                      A lot of people see money as the best motivator. Michael pink says it’s a mistake.

                                      In this provocative book, he asserts that the secret to high performance anywhere is the need to direct our lives, to learn and create, and to do better by our world and ourselves.

                                      Get the book here!

                                      11. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

                                        Outdated methods don’t work in today’s world. In this book, Allen shares some awesome methods for stress-free performance that he has shared with thousands of people all over the world.

                                        His premise? That productivity is proportional to your ability to relax.

                                        Get the book here!

                                        12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

                                          In this book, Stephen Covey presents a holistic approach for overcoming both professional and personal issues. With insights and anecdotes, Covey presents a way to live with integrity fairness, service and dignity.

                                          Get the book here!

                                          13. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

                                            In this book, Ferriss dishes on the tips he has learned from studying the New Rich, a subculture of people who did away with the deferred life plan and mastered time and mobility to developed luxury lifestyles for themselves.

                                            If you’re looking to make your way in this revolutionary new world, this here is your compass.

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                                            Get the book here!

                                            14. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

                                              The CEO of Zappos shows how a unique kind of corporate identity can help deliver a huge difference in the way results are being achieved — by creating a company that values and delivers happiness.

                                              Get the book here!

                                              15. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

                                                From Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records and V2 to Virgin Cola, Virgin Megastores and a wide array of other companies, Richard Branson is the rockstar billionaire that a lot of us want to be.

                                                Branson, however, did business by following a simple philosophy:

                                                “Oh, screw it, let’s do it”

                                                Losing My Virginity is an unusual, borderline outrageous autobiography of one of the greatest business geniuses in the world. Branson and his friends named their business “Virgin” because that was what they were — virgins at the game.

                                                Since then, he’s written his success rules, creating a global business that has no headquarters, no management structure no corporate identity as it were.

                                                Get the book here!

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                                                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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