To be a modern writer is to be under constant pressure to produce.
If you are writing a book then you need to hit your daily word count.
If you are a blogger than you might need to put out a post a day, if not more.
This means that anything you can do to increase productivity should be welcomed.
So, in order to be more productive one should have at least some sort of system for their writing.
Now, I’m normally not a fan of many of the writing or productivity methods out there. I don’t pay attention to many Internet gurus and I think most of their advice is either obvious or pointless and rarely helpful.
So, I wanted something super simple, and flexible as well as easy.
It’s so simple it doesn’t really require much explanation. I just call it my “Writer’s List.”
I will explain more about it later, as I realize that telling people to simply make a list borders on being too obvious to require an entire article.
I started doing this in college. I was not the most organized student and when the end of the semester came the projects, papers, and exams woulds start to pile up.
I started writing everything down that needed to be done because if I didn’t I would surely forget something, usually something important.
There was something so satisfying about watching the list get shorter as I put a line through each item.
Later I would start doing the same thing when I started writing.
So I will explain how something so simple could be so useful.
First, I will say exactly what I do. I take a notepad or a legal pad, then I will write out exactly what needs to be done that day. I publish something every day in various places so whatever article needs to written will be placed at the top of the list. I also write a short story every day so that will rank highly. Then there are a smattering of bits and pieces of other projects.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s it? It’s just a list?
I will tell you that it’s simplicity is what makes it so effective.
First, it’s just a handwritten list. I think writing it out long hand helps cement it in my mind that this is what needs to be done today.
And it’s away from the computer. If you’re like me than you spend a lot of time with your computer so it’s nice to get a few minutes away from it.
Another benefit of this being just a quick little list is that it allows me to be flexible.
Sometimes things come up. Every once and while I need to add another article to the writing day or a chance for some freelance pops up. I just write it in.
In addition, part of the good thing about being a writer and working from home means that you have to opportunity to do things during the day. So occasionally the whole list gets chucked or moved to the next writing period.
This small, practical system works for me. When I first started writing I would attack each day with the same haphazard, manic, unfocused energy and I felt like I couldn’t get anything done.
When I started writing everything done that I wanted to get done that day my productivity easily doubled.
Now it adds a little motivation to get through the writing for that day. Each time I check off that article I know I’m one step closer to being done for the day.
It sounds too simple to be true, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones.
I believe it also helps me be more focused on the task at hand. Instead of writing each piece while simultaneously thinking about what else I need to get done, I can commit fully to that article. I’ve already figured out the order for the day and it lets me write each piece faster than if I was writing while trying to half write other stories in my head.
So, that’s how I use my writer’s list. I think it’s a good tool and if you try it might help you organize your writing day a little better.