When most of us think about productivity as writers, we associate it with waking up at the wee hours of the morning and pounding out pieces at our computers with impressive word counts.
But productivity isn’t always about the product, sometimes it’s about the process. And there are days when the writing life requires a different form of “creativity“ and a plan B to keep us profitable, sane, and geared to stay in the game.
Allow me to elaborate.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever started your day with the best of intentions-- then computer glitches, rejection emails from editors, or blunders with your blog made you want to go back to bed and crawl under the covers. Or worse, cope by consuming an adult beverage before noon. I certainly have.
Just last week, in fact, I had so many tech issues, formatting problems, and other mishaps, that by 10:00 a.m. I was reaching for the medicine cabinet for some Aleve to relieve the tension.
Here’s what I discovered through all the madness: as freelancers, not every day has to necessarily start off with working on the computer. Novel idea, huh? J
On days when being online is “off-putting” simply redirect your efforts and energies.
When I need to periodically outsmart the forces that seem to work against me, these are a few strategies I use to “reboot” and turn a bad day into a manageable, progressive, profitable one. And you can too.
It’s time for a paradigm shift...
1. Take a nature walk.
Frustrated by writer’s block, computer glitches, or Murphy’s law? I find that sometimes communing with nature can be inspiring. The trees, the leaves, the birds, the breeze-- oh my! Before you know it, your spirit feels a little lighter, your focus changes, and your mind becomes like a sponge absorbing all sorts of ideas for poems or article ideas. Try it and see the difference it can make to an otherwise hum-drum writing routine.
2. Write in your journal.
No matter what stage or age, writers should always keep journals. Why? Because it helps to organize your thoughts, troubleshoot problems, and reflect upon your personal and professional growth. A few of my journal entries have even evolved into short stories that appeared in popular anthologies by Simon and Shuster and other publishers, (with pay).
3. Catch up on phone calls.
When was the last time you reached out to folks who weren’t in your freelance “circle” or critique group? Or perhaps you might want to consider conducting an interview with a successful entrepreneur in your area via landline, for a future feature piece. Don’t stop there; make a cold call to drum up some new business. The possibilities are endless.
4. Read to succeed.
Books broaden horizons. They help writers to expand their vocabularies, their knowledge base, and ultimately their bottom line. They also enable us to identify the needs of our audience. Study the works of your favorite authors. What can you learn from their techniques? Their style? Their success story? Assess and apply. Or consider penning a book review for sites that offer compensation. Either way, it’s time well spent. Visit Amazon.com for an array of titles in different formats.
5. Clean the clutter.
A disorganized work environment can cause you to lose time and focus. It can also contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed. But, it doesn’t have to. Spend some time tossing junk mail, donating books that you no longer read, and filing important paper work and contracts. Prolific author, Kathryn Lay, underscores the importance of being organized in her book, “The Organized writer is a selling writer.” With spring cleaning on the horizon, there’s no better time to devote to this worthy task.
For more useful tips and resources on how to manage your work area and your daily “to-do” list,
There’s no doubt about it: computers have allowed modern day writers to conduct business globally, and with greater efficiency than ever before. But in times when they’re a burdensome beast, (as well as a blessing), take comfort in the fact that just like “bad hair days” bad computer days can be successfully managed. Be prepared for it, by following these five tips.
Thoughts? Can you relate?