“What if we told you there was a way to feel less alone and a bit more supported in your writing endeavours? Because there is, we promise.”
It’s 2022, and the world is still very much dealing with a global pandemic and heaps of uncertainty. So congratulations for making it through and always trying your best.
These are particularly challenging times for people dealing with mental health issues, and it’s safe to say that pressure and isolation can often feel heightened when you write for a living. Sitting alone at a desk for hours willing words to come (when they just won’t come) can be an extremely demoralising and frustrating experience. Worse so when you’re behind on deadlines and need to churn out a 3,000-word article by sunrise. We get you; we may even have procrastinated writing this.
But what if we told you there was a way to feel less alone and a bit more supported in your writing endeavours? Because there is, we promise.
So, let’s get right into it. We’ve come up with a handy list of tips and tricks that you can use to promote productivity and protect your mind in 2022.
Productivity Hacks We Love
Discover your peak-productivity-times and use them wisely
Firstly, it’s critical to establish when you work best. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Does the thought of writing after sunset make your stomach churn? Or do you feel inspired, motivated, and alive when the world is asleep? There really is no right or wrong answer. Discover when you are the most productive, and don’t fight it – that part is crucial.
Accepting ourselves as we are is important in every aspect of life, but it can really help boost productivity in the writing department. If you know that there’s no way you’re stringing a sentence together between 2-5pm, schedule other tasks or activities for that period and block out the rest of the day for writing. That way, you’ll be using your time efficiently, without any unnecessary frustration.
Take regular breaks
Studies have shown that people can only concentrate for a period of 90-120 minutes, after which they should probably step away from their screens and have a breather. Doing so will ultimately improve productivity and reduce strain on the eyes (and mind). Remember that time spent having a break is just as valuable as time spent working. So throw that guilt out of the window and give yourself a moment to pause – you’ll be better off for it.
Use a time-tracker to help you out
Following on from our previous point, focusing on a singular task for hours on end is both extremely challenging and not particularly conducive to positive results.
Thankfully, there are a bunch of time-tracking tools out there to help. Our favourite is the Pomodoro Timer, which you can find right here – it’s completely free, too! This timer is based on the pomodoro technique (coined by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s) – a time management system that advocates working for 25-minute periods, separated by short breaks. It’s a method that has been proven to increase focus and concentration, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Bonus: There are even specialised 25-minute pomodoro soundtracks on Spotify – check this one out here.
Treat yourself – literally
Start to create positive psychological triggers associated with writing by rewarding yourself with a treat every time you reach a small writing goal. For instance, set yourself the target of writing 500 words. Once you’ve written them, allow yourself 15 minutes to listen to your favourite podcast or have a cup of tea. For every 1,000 words written, you may want to go for a short walk or have a snack. And so on… you get the drift.
Take-away: Rewiring your brain into feeling more positive about the writing process can incentivise you to write, even when you don’t feel like it!
Mental Health Tips That Help Us
Being able to produce good work at an efficient pace is great. But first, you need to take care of that little guy upstairs (your mind, we’re talking about your mind). And here’s how:
Perfectionists of the world, this one’s for you. So, we’re just going to come out and say it: imposter syndrome and writers’ block don’t go away – ever. The solution? Just write.
No, really. It might seem overly simple, but it’s the only way. Committing to write for a certain amount of time every day without judgment or editing is crucial to getting past any tricky blocks or creative slumps. So, get out a pen and paper (or laptop if you prefer) and just write. Write anything and everything that comes into your mind until it feels clearer.
And remember that you can still write for fun, and for yourself.
Sometimes it can feel like our brains are clogged up and some metaphorical space might need to be cleared before we can even think of forming clear sentences again. Think of it as getting words onto the page and you out of your head. Free-writing and journaling are ideal for channelling those thoughts and you may even find some clarity when things get a bit much.
Get out the house
Studies show that getting yourself out of the house and into nature can have an instant positive effect on your mental health. So, be sure to get your daily dose of Vitamin D and fresh air to give your mind the little boost of serotonin it needs.
Additionally, working in a completely new environment can help, too. Remote/WFH working has meant that many of us are eating, sleeping, and working in the same space. And that can feel suffocating. Switch things up by taking yourself to a nearby café, library, or park for a change of scene. It can work wonders!
Join a Writer’s Club
Writing can be a lonely job even at the best of times. But when you add a global pandemic (and everything else!) to the mix it can feel rather overwhelming.
Enter: The Finesse Writers’ Club! Set up in 2021, the Writers’ Club is an online community of writers led by qualified coaches with extensive experience in the writing sphere who are dedicated to helping you up your writing game. With fortnightly coaching calls, and optional writing prompts to keep that writing muscle moving, it’s the perfect way to get up and over those tricky writing hurdles. Having a community of like-minded people who understand and support you is truly invaluable and could be just what you need to build your confidence and take your next step as a writer.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone this year and hone your skills in this welcoming community of writers and aspiring writers – you’ve got nothing to lose!
If you’ve been stuck in a writer’s rut for a while now, that first step back into the game can be daunting. That’s why having a community of writers and coaches behind you can be a real game-changer. Interested? Sign up here – we’d love to have you!
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