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7 Essential Tips You Need To Follow If You Want To Start Writing

7 Essential Tips You Need To Follow If You Want To Start Writing

Progressions in technology and global inter-connectivity have made writing more desirable today than ever before. Personal virtual notebooks, massive audiences and the increasing ease in which they can be reached – a few strokes of the keyboard and our opinions can traverse the world, gathering momentum and unifying voices from all corners of the globe.

However, while it may be more convenient to get started on your next piece (blogs and websites are revolutionizing the game), it has become more difficult to experience the essence of the activity itself. As much as we’re currently writing to influence others – to give advice or express opinion – we risk losing sight of the serenity that can accompany the activity. All in all, if you truly want to start writing, follow the tips listed below .

1. Write for Yourself

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” –Robert A. Heinlein

Figure out what it is that you want to gain out of writing. Do you want to shoot for the stars and make a career out of it? Or do you want to formulate a hobby around writing, embark on personal poetic endeavors and journal your way through life? If you’re interested in the latter, keep reading, otherwise skip to the next point if you’re looking to profit off of your pieces. Learn to rely on writing as a tool at your disposal. Journal your thoughts and ambitions, record your to-do’s and achievements. Not only does it help you to organize yourself and your thoughts, but it prompts you to actually sit down for several moments a day and have your time with the keyboard or pen.

2. Don’t Expect to Make a Living

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” – Robert Benchley

If you happen to decide that you want to begin a career as an author, find out first how you can live without paying any bills for several years. Unless you have the means at your disposal and some phenomenal luck, don’t expect to profit off of writing at the snap of a finger. Thankfully, the world in which we live today is so connected that there are a number of paid gigs available for freelance writers. However, even these require a reputable portfolio blooming with published articles. It’s not impossible, nor is it even that difficult – it just requires a ton of effort and even more time. If you don’t want to set yourself up for failure, treat it as a hobby at first and then see where it may take you.

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3. Write, Write, Write

Writing is its own reward” – Henry Miller

If all you do is write, then you’re never doing it wrong. If you’re truly passionate about writing, let it infect your mind to the point that you always find your fingers typing away at something. Essays, blogs, short stories – there are so many ways in which you can let yourself become addicted. The number one piece of advice that is circulating from mouth to ear all over the world is that you have to start with a blog. Everyone’s doing it. Start one for yourself and commit to it. One of the hardest things to do is to find time. If you work full-time and run a family, it’s very difficult to seclude yourself and fire off a few paragraphs or pages. Many authors convey the notion of waking up two hours before starting their day jobs just to write. If you don’t have the time, make the time; writing is a costly investment that can offer ample rewards – mostly intangible in nature.

4. Learn to Share Your Work and Absorb Opinion

Beware of advice—even this.” – Carl Sandburg

It may be one of the most terrifying things you can ever do: to show someone a piece of writing that you’ve poured your efforts into. Aside from the A+ essay you bring home to mom or the proposal you’ve stitched together at work, it can take a lot of courage to put yourself out there and expose yourself to potentially critical feedback, which leads to the next point of adequately absorbing opinion. If you can’t take the criticism, don’t play the game of writing before the public eye. Writing is an immensely subjective activity – be prepared for objective perspectives that can shatter your confidence. In contrast, don’t become over-reliant on praise either. Take all positive feedback with a grain of salt, especially if the source is from a friend or someone who just wants to be supportive. On the other hand, don’t be devastated from negative opinion – it can be a necessary voice that you ought to hear, a vessel through which progress can be made.

5. Finish Your Work

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” – Philip Roth

Any writer will agree that it’s an extremely difficult thing to do – to wrap up certain pieces. You’re probably not a born writer if you have a closet (or desktop folder) filled with story after uncompleted story. This more so applies to those who dare to delve into the imaginative world of fiction writing. Deadlines can help you wrap things up and keep an end in sight, as it’s easy to get carried away. Find a way to stay inspired and committed to whatever it is you’re writing. At any rate, ensure that once you commit to something, you never let the flame dim and die – fiction or non.

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6. Let Your Pen/Keyboard Guide You

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way” – E. L. Doctorow

Don’t expect to plan every chapter of your next book, or every topic of your next string of blogs. You discover so much more than you’d ever be able to brainstorm halfway through writing any given piece. In reference to the aforesaid point, this is one reason why a piece may remain unfinished; it can certainly be overwhelming. The magic that sprouts from writing is in its ability to captivate not only the readers reading but the writers themselves.

7. Connect

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest Hemingway

Thanks to the increasing inter-connectivity of the world, it’s so easy to write before a world-wide audience, to gain experience and the know-how’s to be great author – you’re doing it right now. Take it a step further and reach out to a published author, someone who’s been there and done it (and even made it), and ask them for their number one piece of advice. I did, several years ago, and in response I was told to write and never stop writing, prompting me to convey it as the third point listed in this article. Beyond the actual tip, it sticks in your mind every time you think about writing, fuels the fire that serves to inspire you.

Subsequently, if you want to start writing with the intention of turning it into a profitable talent, expect to be on the road towards success for quite a while. The best you can do is to immerse yourself in the experience, let it better your day-to-day life and see where it ultimately takes you. 

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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