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The Only Way to Succeed As a Writer Is To Have a Proper Workflow

Rethinking Your Workflow

By Andrea LawrencePublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Antoni Shkraba, Pexels

When it comes to workflow, there is no one size fits all option. Everyone is dealing with different factors. My time constraints aren’t the same as yours. To be really great at something, and to reap the benefits of it, you have to be dedicated. You have to put time in if you want there to be any output.

So let’s talk about workflow. Let’s see what we can do to enhance yours. I have 12 suggestions in this article.

I believe there is room for improvement when it comes to optimizing your productivity as well as making it sane and balanced. You don’t want to lose your mind or begin to hate writing and give up.

Depending on what kind of writing you’re doing will play into what kind of workflow you need. It’s not too hard to write a blog post daily or semi-daily. If you’re wanting to write a novel, you’ll need to up your game. You’ll want to strive for a certain number of hours that you put into your work each day as well as have a word quota. Stephen King puts down at least 2,000 words every day. Haruki Murakami wakes up early and writes nonstop for hours then he runs.

Some of us write better in the morning, and some of us write better at night. Some of us have little to no time on our hands because we have a job, we’re juggling a family, and maybe we’re in school too. When your schedule is that full, you may have to rely on your lunch break as the time when you write.

What I’ve found with workflow is that it’s best to change it up once it’s no longer serving you. Yes, publishing an article daily is a fantastic goal, but if you find this isn’t really serving you and helping you to arrive at your desired destination, then change what you’re doing. Maybe you need to spend more time researching your topic, so you can write something more in-depth, and if that’s the case, you should stop writing something new daily.

Here are my recommendations to improve your writing workflow:

  1. Schedule time to write. You’re not going to finish your work by magic. You have to schedule a time to write. Do not wait until you want to write because it may never happen. Schedule time to do it and commit to it. Treat writing like a job; it’s not a good idea to only write for pleasure if you’re wanting to get somewhere lucrative with your skills.
  2. Take breaks regularly. Do not sit and stay focused on your computer, typewriter, or journal for 12 straight hours. I recommend using a timer and taking five-minute breaks every hour. Get up and move. This can help you to be more aware of time and also prevent issues that come up when you’re too sedentary. Take the trash out, fix pictures on the walls, eat a snack, run around the block, clean dust off furniture, wash a toilet — just stand up and move.
  3. Cut how much time you spend on social media. This is really hard for a lot of people. It’s easy to lose time when you’re scrolling through social apps. The more you cull this habit, the better. Be aware of how much time you waste on these apps. Be honest, how much do they really help you? Use a timer to reign in your social media surfing.
  4. Maintain a list of topics and ideas. Every writer should have a bank of ideas. When you first start, you may have a hard time knowing what you want to write about, and then you’ll have writer’s block. Plan ahead what you’ll write for the week. The more often you write, the more likely you can develop your bank of ideas.
  5. Write first and edit later. It can really slow you down if you’re constantly writing and then stopping to edit. First, create a rough draft. Then go back and edit it. Not happy with the draft? Don’t delete it. Save it somewhere. In the future, you might know how to properly edit it.
  6. Take days off. If you write every day, you’re more likely to run into burnout, especially if you write several hours each day. If you write 6–8 hours on the weekdays and maybe 30 minutes to an hour on the weekends, you’ll likely maintain a healthy pace. If you can’t write full-time, then I would suggest writing for an hour or two after work (when you can).
  7. Stop letting insecurities take control. You’re taking things too seriously if you’re worried about how good of a writer you are. Just put your fingers on the keyboard and type. The only way you’ll grow is to write, so avoiding it because you’re aware that you’re a novice isn’t really doing you any favors. Turn off the critic while you write.
  8. Experiment with different forms of writing. The demands for different styles will stretch you and make you a better writer. You need to adjust your workflow for a short story vs. a blog article. Ultimately, figure out what brings you the most joy when it comes to writing. Would you prefer writing poems all day or writing articles about the eating habits of orangutans?
  9. Know how different foods trigger you. Some of us write better with caffeine; some of us do not. If you need that extra jolt, take it. If caffeine makes you too jittery and all over the place, skip it. Plan ahead with your meals and consider what works for your digestive system and what doesn’t. Healthier foods, of course, will be better for your brain — and you’ll likely have better results with your writing.
  10. Give yourself goals. Know how many words you want to produce. It’s a great idea to have a word quota. Not having daily goals can make you aimless — you won’t get as much done.
  11. Create a balanced workflow. Spending too many hours in one day, week, or month on writing will exhaust you. Not putting enough time into your writing will lead to the obvious: nothing gets done. You have to balance yourself so you don’t push yourself too hard or get lost in the weeds of procrastination.
  12. Do take breaks to do research and read. If you only rely on your knowledge for your writing piece, you can expect that it will be thin and colorless as compared to what you could write if you added more insight.

My Latest Experiment

I’m trying a new strategy with my writing. I’m cutting an hour out of my day to learn a language and learn how to play an instrument. This way I’m challenging my brain and growing other skills. I plan to spend 30 minutes learning Spanish and then 30 minutes learning to play a song on the piano. I’m curious to see what effect this will have on my writing, if any.

My hope is that it will inspire more brain activity, and it will get me to shape up and tighten my writing workflow. Also, the only way I’m going to learn a language or grow musically is to put time into these hobbies. It’s the same lesson for writing, so it reinforces good behaviors.

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If you have any secrets to workflow, please write a comment. Writers approach their grind in different ways. I’m curious about what people are trying, what works, and what is a waste of energy.

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Originally published:

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About the Creator

Andrea Lawrence

Freelance writer. Undergrad in Digital Film and Mass Media. Master's in English Creative Writing. Spent six years working as a journalist. Owns one dog and two cats.

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Comments (2)

  • Loryne Andawey2 years ago

    Thank you for this. Currently struggling with #5. I constantly go through 5-10 false starts before I find the scene or style I wanted to write and even then I'm not satisfied. I guess I'll just barrel through instead, no matter what. Loved and subscribed 👍

  • Jess2 years ago

    Wholeheartedly agree, writing and achieving a sense of productivity becomes so much easier when you know yourself well enough to build a procedure around your own strengths and weaknesses!

Andrea LawrenceWritten by Andrea Lawrence

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