3 Tips to Write More Efficiently
As a writer, you might sometimes pause and look at the blank page in front of you, not knowing how to start. All your ideas are there, you have the structure in your head or on a notepad, but those first words don’t come easy.
This has happened to me multiple times and I’m sure it must have happened to you too. On the other hand, I’ve also heard people saying that they experience a ‘fresh’ feeling when they see the blank page in front of them because they can write anything. This is a new beginning and it’s exciting.
I don’t feel like that. As confident and full of ideas as I feel when I start thinking about what I’m going to write and while I am preparing, the minute I open the document, my mind goes blank. That’s when I start doing anything else, thinking that the ideas will come in the meantime, but all I do is wasting my time and losing my momentum.
Nevertheless, I have found some tips that I would want to share here with you that I think will help you write more efficiently.
- Move anything that might distract you in another room
I cannot tell you how many times I sat down at my laptop, opened my document, and stopped. Trying and trying to think of a way to get those first words out, I would reach out to my phone and say to myself ‘I will scroll for a few minutes on social media, maybe the idea will come to me.’ And just like that… one hour just flew by.
For me, my phone is my biggest distraction. For every notification or bing, my eyes turn away from the screen to see what is new. Thus, I disciplined myself to take my phone, put it on silent or even airplane mode, and move it to another room. I would check it when I take my breaks to make sure that nothing urgent has happened in the meantime.
Another item that distracts me while writing are books. I often think that I will take a book and read something, maybe I find a phrase that will help me start writing. However, just like the phone, I get so absorbed in the book that I end up reading for 2 hours.
Maybe these are also the things that distract you or maybe you have others. Just make sure you isolate yourself from them for a few hours to make sure you can focus on your writing.
2. Create or arrange a writing space
No matter if you like to write in bed, at a desk, in a coffeeshop, make sure you have everything you need close to you. Have your charger close by, have a bottle of water next to you, and some snacks. Also make sure to make your space comfortable to you. I like to have it clean and neat, everything in its place. However, there are people who work better if they have their notes around them so that they can glance over. Do what is best for you.
Just make sure that everything you need is close to you because getting up and picking the charger now, in 5 minutes a snack, then you a glass of water, and so on, it will disrupt your flow and you will lose your ideas.
3. Start writing random things on your page
I know it probably sounds strange, but I have found this tip to be very useful for me. Whenever I feel that the ideas don’t come to me, I start writing everything that comes in my mind in that moment. Actually typing and seeing the words written down, black on white, helps me organize my thoughts and gets the ideas going. This is an example from an article I had written about social media:
What yo write about this article on social media? Maybe the power social media has over our lives or the fact that I have never read a newspaper from beginning to end? Who is still reading newspapers?
As you can see I have typo errors and grammar errors. Don’t worry about that, just write. Bring your ideas to life. Write everything that comes out and you will see that eventually the ideas will start to connect and your writing will start to have a shape. When you are finished, you can go back and delete that paragraph and start editing your article.
You can also use this trick when you have something written but the next ideas don’t come to you. Here’s another example from the same article:
I remember I made my Facebook account when I was 12 years old. I uploaded a profile picture and I added some people as my friends. I would only use it to play Candy Crush or Angry Birds. Oh man, how much I loved Angry Birds!
I know this may sound like a cliché, but all you have to is start writing. Write anything that comes to your mind and you will see that your ideas will start flowing and that you will find it hard to keep up with all the ideas.
These tips have saved me in multiple occasions, so I hope that they help you as well.