Three Simple Things That Help Me Write More

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“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” – Stephen King

It’s kind of funny how training is expected in sports, and technical professions, but with writing and creative endeavors people seem to think there is almost no barrier to becoming good. At least one you can’t overcome with tricks or “techniques”.

There’s no real substitute for practice.

But sometimes writing a lot can be hard. Very hard. Sure, it might not be that physically demanding, but there’s something about a blank screen, or page, that’s downright intimidating at times. (Also, mental energy is very real, and it’s easy to spend most of it before you even get started on the writing itself.)

A few months ago, I would frequently blame “writer’s block” and throw in the towel, excusing myself from meeting my daily word goals. These days, it’s becoming a rarer and rarer occurrence. And though I’m far from the most prolific writer out there, I learned a thing or two along the way.

In particular, there are three simple things I do that help me put words down on a screen every day.

Writing Down At Least 3 Ideas (For Articles/Blog Posts) Every Day

One of the most recurring, and painful, barriers between me and writing, has been the simple of excuse of “I don’t have anything to write about.” This can come up an awful lot when you’re gunning for daily writing goals of 1000 words and upwards!

But if you practice thinking of more than one idea every single day, not only are you unlikely to run out of writing ideas when you sit down to write, you actually get better at thinking of ideas over time. Continue reading

The Most Glossed Over (But Important) Step Towards Becoming More Productive

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Every time you sit down to do some work on one of your projects, you have a seething doubt in the back of your mind. It weighs down on you and makes work impossible when it’s already hard, and hard when it should be easy.

You’re not convinced that this is what you should be doing. That this is the route you’re supposed to be taking. You have all these other ideas for possible routes to take in life, for things you could be pursuing right now, and you simply can’t let go.

Sometimes procrastination happens for a reason. Your brain is trying to communicate that you have better things to do than what you’re putting off. Things that are more important.

In essence, when you’re not certain that you’re doing, you’re adding another choice on top of the choice to work. You have to make a decision about what you should be doing as well, making it significantly more difficult, and mentally draining, to get started every day.

So how do you know that you’ve chosen the right option? Or at least, how do you convince yourself?

Be Brutally Honest With Yourself

Do you truly want to, and currently have the capacity to work on the ideas that seem more appealing at the moment, or are you simply dreaming because the work itself is more tedious than you had imagined (as work often is in the beginning)? Continue reading

Week Of Superhuman Productivity

Super human productivityThe seemingly unattainable pipe dream for many who get involved in personal development: Superhuman productivity. Is it possible? Well there are many examples of people who achieve more in any given day than we would think of as normal. And some of them even admit to being relatively easy going and lazy. Over the next couple of months I’m going to find a balance of priority that allows me to do the same.

I’m partly doing this because I haven’t been productive enough for the last two months or so. So in an effort to force myself to recommit I’m going to attempt to be as productive as I possibly can for first one week now leading up to Christmas, and then because of Christmas Eve and and Christmas Day, and what’s known as “romjulen” in Norway, I’ll probably take a break for a few days and then keep going.

Long Term Plan

Once I’ve finished this week, I’ll take a look at how well I did and use it as a sort of baseline. Then in 2014, I’ll first repeat once or twice to see if continued commitment is all it really takes to increase your productivity.

Then I’ll repeat the weeks of superhuman productivity following different suggested principles. I’m going to read Getting Things Done, and try to follow that to the verge of perfection. I’m also going to try the 2 day fast and see if that increases productivity. (Suggest any techniques or principles or ideas I should test out in the comments.)

Initial Goals:

  • No TV or Netflix or Youtube or reddit
  • Avoid unnecessary indecision on trivial daily dilemmas
  • Complete all menial tasks that take 5 minuets or less.
  • Reach out to at least 10 potential clients per day.
  • Reply to as many interesting job ads as there are.
  • Write 2000 words per day.
  • Make healthy meals for myself and family every day.
  • One post about a time saver each day on my own blog.
  • Submit at least one guest post/guest post idea to a blog per day.
  • Work out at least one hour per day. (Not focusing on the same muscle groups obviously.)
  • Get more than enough rest.
  • Master one new song on the piano throughout the week.
  • Study Chinese for at least 30 minutes per day
  • Learn to do at least simple self introductions, some simple conversation.(Chi)
  • Maintain Japanese skills by at least 1 hour of studying throughout the week.
  • Start preparing for Christmas Cleaning so it’s less of a hazzle.
  • Read 100 pages per day of a book relevant to what I want to achieve.
  • Keep track of what I’m able to achieve.
  • Personally show up to get connections that could lead to relevant work or experience.

As the days go on I will adjust this if it turns out it’s not enough or too much. If it’s not enough I will adjust up on the next day, but if it feels like it’s too much I’ll wait until the third day before I downsize.

Long Term Goals

  • Increase productivity
  • Develop better ability to focus
  • Become more organized
  • Completely crush the idea I sometimes have about me just being lazy
  • Develop somewhat of a habit for learning new and useful skills

Habits I’m going to avoid:

  • TV
  • Pointless postponing

Habits I’m going to focus on and nurture

  • Reading and piano (substitute for TV during downtime)
  • Daily checklists
  • Daily writing
  • Daily learning
  • Daily workouts
  • Daily walks
  • Daily progress

(Anyone else love the new WordPress dashboard interface? I am a sucker for flat designs. I even removed the rounded corners from this new theme to make it look flatter. Anyone else notice how flatness seems to be a trend for website design lately? Youtube’s new design is quite flat, and now WordPress. And then many of the most popular blog themes, especially the premium ones are flat.)

Thoughts And/Or Suggestions?

Have any thoughts you’d like to share? Suggestions? Please let me know!

The statue in the picture is of Ganesha, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honored at the start of rituals and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Also has 4 arms and an elephant’s head, and is all-round badass.

Picture by Swami Stream