Advertising
Advertising

8 Great Writing Hacks Every Creative Writer and Blogger Should Know

8 Great Writing Hacks Every Creative Writer and Blogger Should Know

Creative writing is an exhausting process, both physically and emotionally. Your chair is much more comfortable than many other work places in the world, but writing is a process that can take a great toll on your mind, and anyone who has encountered a writer’s block knows to what I am referring. While there is no a magical potion that may help you write more efficiently (except lots and lots of coffee), there are many hacks and tricks that may help you. Reaching your maximum output is a combination of hard work, imagination, and true desire to write something that is good, funny, and interesting. I have gathered some pearls of wisdom from my many years of being a creative writer and part-time ghostwriter in hope that they might help a new or struggling writer-to-be.

1. Read. Incessantly.

Reading is essential for anyone to become a complete human being. Reading will open up your mind in ways you previously thought were unachievable, and will give you a new insight into many popular topics. It doesn’t matter what you read, whether you like short novels, sci-fi, or epic fantasy – this will provide you with valuable lessons and life experience in a way that will truly make you into a great person. This is something that can only be said for traveling and for reading. Both of them open our horizons; we learn so much from the comfort of our chairs. Not only will you come up with ideas more easily, but you will improve your vocabulary vastly.

Advertising

2. Create a Fitting Working Environment

Work space

    It doesn’t mean that you have to work in perfect silence, because creativity is a tricky and personal thing – what might be good for someone else, might not work for you. Some people like writing in a busy coffee shop, because it is the place where they can observe and gather ideas. Some people find inspiration in music while I, myself, find it is best to be in complete silence and the comfort of my study room. I don’t even like the city noise coming through my windows, while I find the humming of my computer’s coolers calming.

    Advertising

    3. Create an Outline

    Whatever you write, short articles or even novellas, it is important to have a draft, an outline, where all your ideas are put into a coherent timeline. This is done out of two main reasons: to not forget anything, and to create order out of chaos. Make sure that everything you write serves a goal, and avoid writing arbitrarily only to fill a certain word count. While it can be done sometimes when you are totally out of ideas, avoid doing it, as it can reduce the overall quality of your content.

    4. Carry a Notebook Wherever You Go

    Sometimes, a few days can pass without having a single good idea, and then you have a brainstorm that will give you enough ideas for the whole month. This can especially be good, but it can’t be if you forget everything you thought., Because of this, it is essential to have a notebook always with you so that you can write all of it down. It is good advice never to trust your memory, especially when it comes to ideas and complex thoughts. That is why writing your brainstorms down on a piece of paper is always a good idea. If you want a modern version of a notebook, use your smartphone. Write everything down, from your daily chores to cool ideas that might pop up while you are commuting to work.

    Advertising

    5. Try to Disconnect Yourself

    Lady in hat and glasses

      Sometimes, it can be good for you to distance yourself from your family and friends, not to mention all the technology that surrounds you. Shut down your computer, your mobile phone, and try and stay alone with your thoughts. Searching online for ideas can sometimes help, but more often than not, Facebook and YouTube will only distract you with all the cute cat pictures and funny images or videos.

      Advertising

      6. Accept the Writer’s Block

      You are going to run out of ideas sooner or later, and you are going to be stuck in a writer’s block. This is a fact for all writers, it is best you accept it. It will pass, there is no need to panic over it as it will only create even more fear in your mind. The best thing you can do is to simply wait it out and use that time to read something new or do some extra research in order to find new inspiration. This is important because relaxation will restart your mind, and after a few days away from writing, you will have a clear path to start again.

      7. Find a Trusted Critic

      This can be anyone, your good friend, your husband or your wife, or even your mother. Just find someone willing to read your writing and give you his or her honest opinion. An outside input can easily give you an insight you previously missed but you can use to improve your work. While we all take great pride in what we write, we must learn to accept criticism and use it efficiently. If you think that you are the best, and that no one else understands you – chances are that you are wrong. Because of this, find someone who you know will give you an honest opinion without any ulterior motives.

      8. Believe in Yourself

      Trust yourself

        One of the most important rules when writing is to Trust Yourself. You have to know that you are able to successfully finish whatever you start, and to have confidence to always continue, no matter how hard it gets. If you are constantly doubting yourself, your work is going to suffer. Write whatever you feel in your heart, and ask others for their opinion, but always try and achieve your own goals, no matter what. Be persistent and surround yourself with people that support you, and you will overcome any obstacle you come across. Armed with some patience and these useful tips, an aspiring creative writer or blogger will be able to boost his or her productivity and keep those creative juices flowing. Don’t despair if you get stuck and strive to develop a strong work ethic and find a system that works for you.

        More by this author

        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

        50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them 5 Exercises To Improve Intimacy and Create a Better Relationship 8 Fun and Unique Birthday Party Ideas for People in Their 20s 50 Cleaning Hacks for Your Home That Will Make Your Life Easier 40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

        Trending in Productivity

        1 How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work 2 Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress 3 How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money 4 7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It 5 How to Concentrate and Train Your Brain to Focus Better

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Published on January 16, 2019

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

        You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

        You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

        That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

        Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

        1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

        Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

        We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

        To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

        At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

        The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

        2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

        Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

        The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

        In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

        It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

        It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

        Advertising

        So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

        • Are you a great strategist?
        • Are you an effective planner?
        • Is Project Management your strength?
        • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
        • Are you the ideas person?
        • Is Implementation your strength?

        Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

        3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

        One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

        Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

        Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

        Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

        4. Take Time for Planning

        “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

        One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

        You can take the time to think about:

        • What’s the purpose of the project?
        • How Important is it?
        • When does it need to be delivered by?
        • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
        • What are the KPIs?
        • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
        • Who is working on this project?
        • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
        • What tolerances can I add in?
        • What are the review stages?
        • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

        Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

        5. Focus on Priorities

        Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

        Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

        One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

        1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
        2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
        3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
        4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

        James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

        Advertising

          The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

          If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

          If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

          6. Take Time Out

          To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

          If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

          Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

          In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

          Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

          Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

          I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

          Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

          If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

          8. Stop Multitasking

          Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

          So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

          When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

          Advertising

          If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

          9. Work in Blocks of Time

          To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

          I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

          Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

          Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

          Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

          Then take another 10-minute break.

          Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

          By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

          10. Get Rid of Distractions

          Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

          “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

          Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

          If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

          11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

          You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

          Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

          Advertising

          Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

          12. Take a Time Audit

          Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

          Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

          You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

          Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

          Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

          At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

          If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

          13. Protect Your Confidence

          It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

          When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

          Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

          When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

          Final Words

          A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

          The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

          If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

          Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next