How often have you heard that we are all creatures of habit? You don’t waste time walking or reading the newspaper or drinking coffee every day because they are part of your habit. Such acts flow with a certain degree of flexibility. Yet, despite the fact that you write enough each day, there’s rarely the same kind of fluidity. You always feel that you could have written more, and sometimes, written better. In this post, I’ll dig deep into daily habits we have and find out how you can utilize them for better productivity at writing every day.
Let me start with a fascination of mine: I’m a news junkie! I have a ton of news apps on my phone, including the big dogs like Huffington Post, New York Times and The Guardian. Additionally, there are the NDTV and Times of India apps. Between these, I get all the possible news items that I would want to read. Without browsing through them every morning, my day does not begin. Now, you may ask here, why am I harking on this habit of mine, which is actually common to many?
The reason is that catching up on all of these news items gives me fodder for thought for my business and writing. It enriches my vocabulary and writing narrative. I’m more equipped to tell my side of the story in a precise, pithy way. News items give you a direct access to the pulse of the country and the world at large. You know what people are talking about, even if they are not really going viral! Marketing, digital and otherwise, is all about putting your finger on the pulse of the people. Nothing does it better than news items.
There you see how a daily habit can be churned for better productivity in writing. There are other examples as well. Like, writing requires a flow of thought. It does not necessarily come from the topic you are working on. You imbibe a topic and the valid arguments. Then you are ready to talk about the matter in your own authorial voice. When you hammer away at the keyboard, you find that you are woefully short of expression and flexibility in the thought process.
This happens because as a writer, you are feeling cramped and suffocated, even intimidated by the task at hand. A good way to circumnavigate that is through purposeless writing. You are either carrying a habit of working late or early. No matter what, keep aside some time at the end of the day or at the start to write just about anything that comes to your mind. Let the words flow. You will find you have written quite some amount without even realizing it! Build this up as a habit and when you actually write something purposeful, you will find out how fluid your writing has become.
Music fans have the option of tuning into their favourite playlists while they write. I, for one, cannot do this! Music distracts me and I simply cannot work on keeping my train of thought together. It gets derailed every now and then. But people who can focus with music on are blessed that way. According to research published by the University of Birmingham, music makes repetitive tasks enjoyable and less prone to mistakes. With music on, you can effectively keep distractions at bay, including voices from the TV and people around you.
Why just these common habits? You can turn even something like drinking coffee into a way to make writing more productive. You know well the positive effects of caffeine on the alertness of the mind. While I don’t advocate drinking too much of caffeine, even though I do it, even a couple of cups per day can be utilized. Keep your research work and brainstorming for these cups of coffee! Think and do the work requiring your full focus in these times. It will give you more value for time, and the coffee as well!
It is all about how you approach writing. Do it as a chore and it will keep building up into a mammoth task. Do it as a habit and it will purr adorably.