Friday, January 11, 2013

Making Room to Write: Ways to Be More Productive in 2013

I literally make room on my desk
to write
If you've read this blog before, then you know  I am passionate about writing. But sometimes, life gets in the way of my writing practice, and I'm often challenged to find time to write while still giving time to the other parts of my life that need it. This happens to all of us, doesn't it? And it's something we all need to address in some fashion so that we can write in a balanced, healthy way.

In light of this... I'm dedicating 2013 to accomplishing my writing goals with balance. So I'm kicking things off this year on the blog with a series of posts on how to make room in our lives for writing. I'm going to tackle all kinds of issues that relate to this topic... Things like this...

  • How to maintain balance between our writing and the other parts of our life
  • Accepting true priorities while eliminating what is unnecessary
  • Ways that we can (and must) take care of ourselves to take care of the artist in us
  • Techniques that can help us recharge our creative batteries
  • Being wise about how we use our time
  • Other issues that you suggest to me...because a lot of what I do on this blog is a response to what you ask for. So, share your questions and suggestions, and I'll do my best to post about them.
My productivity list
Today, let's kick off with a quick self-assessment. The first step to making room to write is to be honest about what is working, and what isn't, in our writing lives. For me, this assessment is in the form of a list, and it looks like this:

Things that make me more productive and creative:
  1. Writing every day. I'm tackling this topic in more detail next week, but I'll say now that writing daily keeps my creative juices flowing. And it especially helps if I'm making time for writing that I love, in one form or another (rather than just the deadlines I need to hit for my day job).
  2. Getting enough sleep and rest. I don't know about you, but when I'm tired or overworked, creativity goes out the window. Rest = energy to write. It's that simple.
  3. Regular exercise. This is especially true of walking outside, in nature. I'll talk about this later too, but movement helps me write. Always has, always will.
  4. Eating well. Heavy foods weigh me down and make me sleepy. Salads and healthy protein make me feel light and energetic, and ready to create.
  5. Getting rid of negativity. If I've got anger, sadness, and other negative emotions bottled up, my energy goes into dealing with that, and not into my writing. Finding ways to process daily emotions equals making room for my muse to come out and visit. Journaling can help. So can throwing rocks. Seriously. I'll post about this too.
  6. Having a plan. I'm a get-it-done type of person. A to-do list goes a long way to helping me manage my time, accomplish things... Disorder saps my creative energy in no time flat.
  7. Getting encouragement. There's a time for getting a critique of your writing. But that's not what I'm talking about here. We all need a boost from time to time. We need people around us who will say: "Yes, keep writing! You can do it. You're getting better at it. You have great ideas. Keep it up." Find people who will do that for you, and do it for yourself as well. It's important.
Things that make me less productive and less likely to get my personal writing done:
  1. Wearing myself out at the day job. Yes, this includes literal work. But it's more about emotional and mental exhaustion. If I don't stay on top of my attitude and purge myself of the frustrations of daily life, I don't feel like writing. Attitude is king. It must be a good, benevolent king, or it gets the boot.
  2. Having no plan or nothing to do. You'd think that having nothing else to do but write would be ideal, but not for me. Ironically, the less I have to accomplish, the less I accomplish. Even if it is a list of little things, I still seem to need a to-do list of some kind to help motivate me to work.
  3. Lacking a clear sense of character, plot, and setting. Eventually, not knowing where I'm going with a fiction idea is the same as not having a plan. Undeveloped ideas usually equal writers block.
  4. Chaos in the rest of my life. Okay, sometimes there is nothing you can do about this. My last few months have been like this, which I mentioned in a post not long ago. When mess happens, you deal with it, and it's okay to put writing temporarily aside if that's what you have to do. But other times, chaos can be getting rid of crazy-makers, by setting boundaries, by saying no when you need to say no. See what I mean? I definitely will post about this more, but it's a good idea to look at your life and see where you're adding more crazy to your life that you don't need to add. Because you can always subtract where necessary.
I encourage you to make a list like this for yourself. If you're a writer, look at it through that lens. But you can also look at it through any other lens that's relevant for you. That may mean looking at what makes you productive at work, in your family life, at the gym, whatever, but it's a good way to learn and bring to your conscious awareness the things that you need to do to care for yourself well. With those things in mind, you can then make better choices for yourself as they come up. This brings more peace and joy into your life, and that helps spawn creative energy for your writing. I'll talk more about this too... Lots of good stuff to share in 2013, and I'm excited about it. Hope you are too!

So... What goals have you set for yourself this year? What helps you to be productive? What robs you of your creative energy? I'd love to hear about it all, so tell me about it in the comments. See you next week with more on why I write every day, even if it's just a little bit, and how a daily writing habit helps you make room for creativity and ideas to flow.

Copyright (c) 2013 by M.A Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. hehe, I think we are so similar in many ways, because your strengths/weaknesses here are pretty much the same as mine straight down the line.

    As for my goals for 2013 . . . there's a lot of them. You can find them here ( if you want to peruse them :).


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.