24 hours of learning from others on Working Smarter with Writing projects

Notebook and pen (N.Lemon, 2012)

Yesterday’s blog post on 6 smarter writing tips ignited much discussion and sharing amongst fellow bloggers and twittersphere users. Some shared publicly and others face to face with me. Here’s what I have learnt so far:

  • Take a break from the writing then review own edits before reviewing with editorial recommendations.
  • Taking time out to relax/practice yoga/run/cycle/walk/or go to the gym means you are taking care of yourself when writing – great for the thought processes and unexpected ideas plus processing of what you are writing.
  • Take time for the mind and body. It takes three weeks to form a habit – a habit of writing regularly and exercising regularly. Both go hand in hand in working smarter and effectively.
  • Engage in AcBoWriMo (thanks to @phd2publish) and use it as a strategy in itself the write, write, write.
  • Plan, plan and plan some more – what is it you actually want to write about and who is your audience? Get these right in your planning and the writing will flow.
  • To word count or not to word count – a debate that will continue to go on in the world of writers no matter what field. At the end of the day counting may help you address what you actually have set as a writing goal and runs parallel to the ‘plan, plan and plan some more’ notion.
  • Read. It inspires your ideas on content and also writing style, use of language and structure.
  • Utilize your community of contacts. Share, bounce off ideas, accountability,  discuss and co-writing are all associated with what is possible when you engage with your community.
  • If you write whilst you are sick you will just feel worse. Rest your mind and body and return to the writing when you are better. And don’t feel guilty, listen to your body when it’s telling you to rest up.
  • Procrastination and distractions come in many forms. What are yours? Know them, label them, and even write a list of them so you can identify those repeated procrastion and distraction maneouvers of yours and then move on.
  • Every writer comes in different forms and styles. Who says anyone person is better than another? Believe  in yourself and write from the heart, you may surprise yourself in what you can achieve.
  • No writing is a waste, parts can always be reused or renewed on another day.
  • Love (or at least enjoy) what you are writing, that’s why you want to share it.
  • Writing can be visual as well – think figures, charts, images, mind maps, illustrations, and so on. These all contribute to what you are thinking and can enhance the flow of your writing and ideas being communicated.
  • Think about what others are doing and apply to your own writing. What can you learn from another writers introduction, flow of argument or discussion, phrasing of literature, or construction of a conclusion?
  • Set daily goals for your writing.
  • Experiment with different ways of recording your writing – sticky notes, note book, mapping software, backs of envelopes, note tool on your iPhone or iPad, laptop, or large pieces of paper.
  • It’s okay to have a day where you just write and not check email….or Twitter.
  • Just write and edit later.
  • Annotate your writing as you go – thoughts and links that pop into you’re head can be quickly captured for you to come back to later rather than getting distracted now or setting you off on a tangent that means you have multiple writing possibilities developed but your goal or section of writing is still incomplete.
  • Sometimes we may have a day set aside for writing but just sit at the computer screen and stare. That’s okay, walk away and do something else. It’s amazing how being in the zone of processing your writing ideas will all of a sudden flow when you are doing something else, like cleaning the fridge!
  • Save, save, save and back up. Not much more to say about this as many have experienced this issue. What ever your method of backing up (USB stick, external hard drive, emailing files to yourself or a buddy, multiple computers, or clouds of all descriptions) don’t let all your had work be lost.

Enjoy these ideas  that have emerged over the past 24 hours and see what works for you. I’m sure more strategies will emerge as I along with many others set out to achieve our writing goals for the year.

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