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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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        SEO Consultant

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        Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

        Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

        There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

        How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

        Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

        Why is multitasking a myth?

        The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

        Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

        You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

        Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

        We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

        Your brain on multi-tasking

        Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

        When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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        But I can juggle multiple tasks!

        You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

        For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

        Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

        Why multitasking is failing you

        Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

        Multitasking wastes your time.

        You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

        In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

        It makes you dumber.

        A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

        You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

        This is an emotional response.

        There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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        Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

        It’ll wear you out.

        When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

        We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

        How to stop multitasking and work productively

        Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

        In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

        Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

        1. Consciously change gears

        Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

        As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

        This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

        2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

        Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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        Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

        This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

        3. Set aside distractions

        Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

        If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

        Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

        Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

        4. Take care of yourself

        We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

        Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

        In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

        5. Take a break

        People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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        Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

        6. Make technology your ally

        Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

        Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

        The key to productivity: Focus

        Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

        Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

        If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

        How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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