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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 October 16, 2018

                  How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

                  How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

                  Everyone of us has a plan in our head that was taken over by family responsibilities, social pressure or sheep mentality. This made us a slave to instant gratification and started killing our plan and dreams.

                  There is a way to revive your plans and dreams and live a happier life. No amount of salary can exceed your desire to do something that you are really passionate about.

                  If you hate your job and have thought about leaving your job, here’s how to quit your job and start doing what you love:

                  1. Identify if you really want to quit to follow your passion

                  There could be many possible reasons to figure out why you are discouraged to go to work and start thinking about how to quitting your job. Figure out the reasons or signs that make you feel that you should really quit your job.

                  If these reasons are not related to your office environment or your ultimate goal is to pay your bills from your job, you should consider getting a new job in the same field. It’s better to be an experienced receptionist than to live a dream that is not yours.

                  2. Start with the side hustle and keep it going

                  Work after you get back home and build up your product or service enough to gain confidence to quit your job.

                  Build the website, write down the business plan, design your product, make marketing collaterals or do whatever it takes for you to start working full time on your new venture before quitting your current job.

                  You could also consider part-time working opportunities if your current job sucks a lot of your energy. This way you could save your energy and dedicate more time to your side hustle.

                  Ensure that you don’t quit until your new venture really demands your full time dedication. You might lose interest in your new venture if you fall short of survival money.

                  3. Save enough to pay your bills

                  If you need to pursue your passion, you need your monthly bills to be taken care of, without any worries. You must cut down on unnecessary expenses and squeeze in those extra bucks on your savings while you are at your current job. You should forget those weekend parties and social outings unless they’re meant for networking.

                  It makes no sense to quit your job without having any savings. Your new venture will not start paying you immediately. Starting a recurring deposit account is a good idea to start off with. Put aside a considerable amount every month as soon as you get your paycheque and forget about that money until you quit your job.

                  4. Write down your goals

                  It is important to have visual proof and a daily reminder of why you quit your job and started a new hustle.

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                  Write down your goals and read them at least once a week. If you are a forgetful person, create cell phone or desktop wallpapers of your goals and set them until you achieve them. Visual proof keeps you on track.

                  These goals are the bigger picture of what you wish to achieve in your pursuit to doing what you love.

                  For example, if you are wish to design the best dresses in the whole state, write it down. If you wish to fly to Mars, write it down. If you really wish to give up your career for something, it better be worth remembering everyday. Show it to yourself daily.

                  5. Make a plan

                  Write down a plan of action for the next 12 months. It’s like writing down an elaborate execution plan in your calendar. This could be a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list of your tasks to achieve your goals.

                  Learn how to make a plan if that’s not your area of expertise. Ensure that you know what you’re going to do next and not run like a headless chicken after two months of working for yourself.

                  Review the plan time and again to track your progress. This will give you a clear picture of your performance and your shortcomings.

                  Also, have a backup plan. Even great planners and strategists fail before achieving success. Ensure that you have a second plan if your first one does not work out as you predicted.

                  6. Get professional advice

                  Talk to experienced people in the field you want to venture out. Go to networking events and connect with people in your industry. Most people will help you out with good advice and good contacts.

                  Get professional courses in part time colleges. It could be great to network and the teachers can be of great help to understand more about the industry. They will help you analyse your plan and connect you to influential people.

                  7. Prepare yourself to put a resignation

                  Prepare yourself mentally to quit your job after you’ve realized the potential and prepared yourself to take a deep dive into your new profession.

                  Leave on a friendly note. Don’t make enemies with your bosses. These connections could help you further in your profession.

                  Don’t burn the bridges. It’s better to have a face-to-face conversation with your boss or reporting manager than sending a surprise mail.

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                  Tell them sincerely about your new venture and why it is important for you. Serve the notice period completely and work till the last day. Complete all your tasks as you would on a regular day. This will maintain your respect and keep your relationships intact.

                  8. Be prepared to get your hands dirty

                  As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything that’s needed to keep your work going.

                  You have to perform all the tasks needed to keep your new venture going. You have to be a janitor, an administrator, an accountant, a designer or a salesperson all at once.

                  There would be a point of time where you will have to perform tasks that aren’t your favourite. Be ready to perform such tasks without cringing.

                  9. Have no baggage

                  Don’t have a debt! Clear all your loans, debts and pending commitments before starting off. You want to fully concentrate on your new activity and not be bent down by loading your shoulders with any burden.

                  You would want to enjoy your freedom to work incessantly. No distractions whatsoever are allowed to come close to you when you are fully involved in the rhythm of development. Shun away materialism!

                  10. Don’t be in two minds

                  It’s good to analyze the best and the worst possibilities in your head, but it’s not at all good to doubt yourself.

                  Move ahead with confidence. It’s your life, your plan and your rules. Nothing and nobody can stop you from doing what you wish to do.

                  The more you start getting noticed, the more people will point fingers at you. Don’t let them affect you and create doubts in your head. As William Shakespeare said,

                  “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

                  11. Learn to handle failure

                  You are going to be a loser and it’s a good thing! If you fail and lose, you will learn to not repeat your mistakes and make yourself stronger with every punch you throw out.

                  It takes time till you start losing. The key is to not be demotivated by failure. The more the failure, the more closer you are to success.

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                  12. Try your hands at investing in stock market or cryptocurrency

                  It’s a good way to keep your side income rolling in. While you are busy building your dream project, you could invest your money in the stock market or cryptocurrency and let it grow while you sleep.

                  As Warren Buffet famously quoted,

                  “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

                  Find a good stock broker who has enough experience to not lose your money. Stop immediately if you are losing a lot of money. Don’t burn away your money.

                  13. Keep a healthy routine

                  It’s easy to forget about your health when you are working on something that you’re really passionate about. Set reminders about your health routine.

                  Exercise! Most successful people start their day early and take time out to exercise at least thrice a week. It helps you give more energy and time to your work.

                  Always remember that you started your new venture to be happier. Bad health will not let you enjoy your success.

                  Join yoga classes or learn meditation from youtube. Avoid sitting too long at one place for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, take breaks. take a walk, especially up-down the staircase as much as you can to skip age related joint pains and muscle atrophies.[1]

                  14. Enjoy your days off

                  Taking a break helps your creativity and clears your mind from clutter. You need your days off to come back afresh and take on your tasks. You can’t be working 24/7.

                  Remember that being able to take your days off is one of the beneficial quirks of an entrepreneurial journey. You can have a routine designed by yourself, for yourself.

                  Take your days off when you are too stressed and can’t think straight. Self-discipline might sound simple but practice takes ages. Schedule down time for yourself.

                  15. Take these steps to quit your job without burning bridges

                  Resume.io has this infographic about the steps you should take after you’ve decided to quit your job:[2]

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                    16. Remember why you quit your job

                    Lastly, remember why you quit your job and started doing what you love. There would be bad days that will make you regret your decision, but don’t let them dominate the reason why you took the plunge.

                    Your soul wasn’t happy with what you were doing. Your new venture is what you always wanted to do.

                    Never forget that.

                    If nothing works out, you could still go back to any job you want, but at least, you’d be spared from regrets and constantly arriving “What if?” question in your head.

                    So, start now and live without any regrets.

                    Execution matters more than thought. Turn your dream into a reality starting today. Start small and grow big.

                    Besides, it’s never too late to do what you want to do. Here’s the proof:

                    How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                    Reference

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