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- The 7 Deadly Writing Sins that ruin my Productivity
Good morning! Long time, no blog post? With that in mind, I think it’s either befitting or ironic that I am sharing a little list of comprised of some of the most common “Writing Sins” that totally mess with my writing productivity. Little things that mess with my best of intentions to write buuuut I could just refresh my Pinterest feed one more time, right? Having your phone nearby and not silenced. Is it no surprise that I’m a super distracted writer? Generally I don’t see myself as an easily distracted person but there is something about sitting down that makes my wonder from whatever I am supposed to be doing and search for something else. And, often, that something else, is my phone. Phones basically give you instant engagement and gratification. I’m sure we’ve all heard the studies done on this. The tiny dopamine rush we get from the stimulation of entertainment (this rush being small but effective in wiring our brains to seek it out more or “refresh” the page). But, because of this, having my phone nearby, can often be a distraction waiting to happen. Especially if I don’t silence it. These days, for many reasons, I have my notification completely off nearly 100% of the time, and I will say, it really, really helps. Having too many tabs up. I’ll often find myself wanting to clarify this one “thing” in my writing so I open up a new tab, to research said “thing” and one rabbit hole of research later, here I am with 1000 tabs up and no writing actually done. So, for my benefit, I limit the amount of “tabs” I’m allowed to have open. In fact, it has to be really important for me to minus my word document and look up because I know my own tendencies. This is why I recommend that if you ever need to further research something for clarification in your writing, insert a filler word and move on. The filler word should be weird like “pink elephant” for its easily searchable in a word document and found. Come back to it later. Getting a little to caught up in music I feel there’s a common theme of distraction here. I cannot write with music really. I end up humming along and just getting way to into it and Oh! Look! Now I’m distracted. Again. If I do happen to be in a focused mood, instrumentals often work best. Chill instrumentals. And even then, it’s probably best I don’t recognize it so I’m not tempted to hum or sing along. Being too perfectionistic and getting too bogged down in getting everything just right. Hmmm… distractible AND perfectionistic? What a great combo! This is more of a mind thing. If I’m ever to get any writing done, I have to tell myself over and over again “you can’t edit a blank page, just keep writing”. Not having a snack nearby. I’m just repeating myself at this point. This is yet another gateway to distraction. Take my word, have food nearby, unless you have a specifically planned break for food. Not knowing your productivity pitfalls or strengths. Hence this list. But it can be different for everyone. It’s simply a matter of knowing yourself and your own unproductive tendencies and having specific ways to counter them. Not only that, but try and play to your strengths as well. If music really helps you picture the ambiance of a story, by all means, utilize that. If it is nothing more than a source of distraction (like it is for me), then maybe resort to some other background noise like ambiance sounds. Getting too caught up in word counting. If I am struggling to pump out some writing, I find I have a huge problem with typing, and then checking the word count like I’m writing an essay for school. This is because I have a word goal I hope to meet every day, and while this does me good, on bad days, I find myself way too caught up in meeting the quota. I haven’t really found a way to combat this if I’m honest. I feel that if I don’t force myself to write at least a little everyday, it is easy to get out of the habit and oh! Now I haven’t written for a month. Yay. But I definitely feel like my writing suffers when I am just checking a “list”. My only tip on this specific tendency is just know, that we all have bad writing days. But I think I ascribe to the idea that something, even if its a bit forced on this particular day, is better than nothing. Really I think that’s the ideology that’s at the heart of productive writing. “Something is always better than nothing”.
- Quick Writing Ideas
Quick Writing Ideas ~A fairytale but told in reverse. This could mean a many number of things. You could reverse the roles or the events, either works. It’s good practice and helps you move past figuring out what to write. ~An excerpt from your life but told in a dramatic, over the top fashion. We’re all drama queens and you know it. This not only allows you to write what you know, but I’ve found it’s a wonderful way to expand your vocab because it forces you to look up big and fun words. And while these words are pretty frivolous in this specific context, these words will come in handy the next time you take on writing a story where they wouldn’t be so out of place. ~Get inspired by history. Write short excerpts from the point of view of old historical figures. There are tons of interesting people to be discovered in the past. ~Get inspired by art. Art and writing have a common purpose… to create a picture, so the two are clearly linked in one way or another. Perhaps this is why I find inspiration in the lovely paintings of the past. To do this yourself, pick out an interesting or unusual painting and use it as writing inspiration. ~Write an over the top conspiracy theory. The more ridiculous, the better. This also can be tool for building your vocabulary while you have fun writing the worst lies you’ve ever conjured. ~Write a piece specifically for mocking a cliché. ~Write down a list of three aesthetics or objects that you really like for some reason or another. Now try and incorporate them into a story. ~Take a fable or fairytale The primarily stars animal characters and humanize them. Or, if you’d like, take a human based fairytale and make all the characters forest animals. ~Take a work that you really like and give it a mood shift and tell it in a fashion completely opposite of what it was originally but while keeping most of the main events. For example, you take a work of Edgar Allan Poe and give it a sunny, happy, comedic spin. ~Challenge yourself to write a story where the narrative and events are completely confined in one room. ~Pick a specific year to inspire your work. ~Pick a historical figure to inspire your work. ~Have your work center around a specific object. Like a mirror or a pen for example. ~Have your work be inspired by a game. For example, chess, checkers, poker or just playing cards and their suites in general, Clue, monopoly, Candy Land, Shutes and Ladders, Mastermind, or Battleship to name a few. Think outside the box. ~Have a color play a dominant theme in your story. ~Have a plant play a dominant theme. ~Or an animal.