"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to "Reboot" and Rebound From a Bad Computer Day-5 Tips to Success

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?

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net


  1. Jennifer, thanks for this post. I just "lost" my computer of x-many years. It is stuck on the e-machine icon page. One plus from this sad situation: I am re-learning writing BEFORE I post.

    1. Hey there, D7ana!

      You're quite welcome. Although I hate the circumstances that made it a necessity. At least something positive came out of it, right? LOL

      Always love hearing from you. Keep up the good fight. :-)

  2. I can definitely relate. I've had more than a few computer problems. With my last one, the internet connection died.

    I spent the time waiting for the repair guy to get a major section of writing done on one of my projects (almost two thousand words).

    1. Hi Savannah,

      Welcome. Glad to have your feedback today.
      Sounds like you made the most of a bad situation. Kudos to you! :-)

  3. Jennifer--When the creativity is not flowing like it should, perhaps I should take the battery out of my laptop and claim it's a "tech problem" and read or take a walk? ;)

    1. Sioux,

      That's what I call using your "creative license" :-)

      Thanks much for stopping by and weighing in.

  4. Been cleaning the clutter for weeks! lol. Great list!

  5. Dawn,

    Me too! Wonderful to "connect" with you today. Thanks for your thoughts. :-)

  6. Oh yes, I can relate! The things that get me off track most often are interruptions. My writing/freelance schedule has to be flexible due to other commitments, such as bookkeeping for my husband's business. Some days, when my agenda gets squashed, I want to throw in the towel. My biggest boosts to recovery come from #1 and #5. It helps to feel as though something else got accomplished. My personal list would include a #6 - playing outside with my 5 year old grandson. A game of baseball with him ("Run, Grandma, run!") does wonders for my morale. :)

    1. That's so cute: go granny, go! :-) Glad to have you make a "pit stop" here at Pen and Prosper. Welcome back, Karen! Thanks for adding to the mix.

  7. I can totally relate to that, especially because of the current nice Sunny weather I actually recently done most of those things.

    Also have been sitting in the Sun reading a book, and with just only simply Pen & Paper organising my thoughts, making some great discoveries. Thinking about new way's I can organise the things that I enjoy doing, and thinking about possible better Blogging-/Writing Strategies.

    For example aiming to write more engaging posts, by sharing more about my approach towards writing about
    - Writer's Lifestyle - and about Writing Related Topics.

    I am still in the process of improving it all, infact you can frequently read Exclusive new posts about it :)

    1. H.P.,

      I like the pen and paper approach you mention. Too often I think we forget that waaaay before we got caught up in the "Net" pen and paper was pretty effective. :-) Here's wishing you many more "sunny," productive days in your corner of the world. I appreciate the feedback.

  8. That's exactly how I'm feeling right now. I recently made a promise to myself to spend at least one day a week away from the computer. Easier said than done. But I love the suggestions you give. I don't do them enough. And it's important when you have a sedentary job like ours that we purpose to get some daily physical activity. Our lives depend on it!

    1. Yep. Even if it's a weekly walk to the ice cream shop. LOL

      Thnaks for chiming in here, Sarah. :-)

  9. Every one of these is spot on, Jen. I've had so many good blog posts come out of #1. Just going outside makes you realize there's a whole world out there that's functioning apart from anything you say or do. Humbling and inspiring alike. Weird, huh? And I just wrote about read to succeed in my blog post today. Nice.

    1. Sue,

      Divinity and nature are great for inspiration and for seeing the "bigger picture" of things.

      Thanks for weighing in. I'll be checking out your blog post today. :-)

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  11. As I wrote about in a previous Comment,
    I am in the Process of Improving my current
    Blogging-/Writing Strategies, by writing about
    my approach towards writing.

    My approach towards writing might also actually
    be one of the topics to focus on, to help
    better Position my blog,

    Because otherwise - with having an interest
    in so many topics -
    as a visitor to my blog
    you might get confused about what you
    can expect to find on it.

    Better organising it, and better Positioning it
    can make it more helpful for you as a reader,
    than instead of looking at just a 'Clutter Blog',

    You can see a better more focused blog
    about my approach towards writing involving
    Blogging, and also doing Affiliate Marketing,

    With writing Product Reviews and writing
    blogposts about a Variety of other
    interesting Writing Related Topics.

    1. H.P.,

      Sounds like you're on the "write" track. Focus is key, (and so is positioning). Thanks for sharing this.

  12. Great post! I can definitely relate, and those are all things I do when my pc isn't behaving.

    1. Hi Tyrean,

      How groovy to hear from you today. How have you been?

      Here's wishing you fewer days that require "rebooting". :-)