4 Unusual Ways To Get More Writing Done
Picture this: a writer sits down at his desk to knock out his word count for the day. It might be a chapter of a book, a blog post, or some freelance writing.
He glances at his calendar and sees that he has four interrupted hours of writing time. Perfect!
He makes good use of the time, indulging his imagination for several hours. No one is texting, emailing, calling, or otherwise bothering him. The words are pouring out of the pen like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a blissful block of time when he accomplished more than he set out to do.
He leans back in his chair, basking in the glow of his creative output. All of a sudden, the room goes dark and he sits up in bed, rubbing his eyes and wondering what happened.
It was all a dream.
This is exactly how most writers view a large block of writing time: a dream that has no basis in reality. Most of us lead very busy lives filled with jobs, family commitments, and church or community responsibilities. We are all struggling to get our writing finished and make a difference with our words.
So how do you get it done? How do you navigate the busyness of life and actually complete the writing that is so important to you?
The answer: you must be intentional about using your time.
Despite feeling busy, most of us have more time available than we realize. The key is that we don’t consider it time as “writing time.” If your goal is to have uninterrupted writing time at a desk, you might get frustrated when it doesn’t magically appear.
However, if you’re willing to take advantage of some unorthodox ways to get your writing done, this post is for you. Here are four unusual writing methods that work for me
It’s usually not a good idea to mess with your phone while driving. And for good reason: many accidents are caused by distracted drivers. In Missouri, where I live, it’s still legal to use your cell phone while driving. However, that’s not the case in all states.
One way to safely take advantage of your smartphone features is by using hands-free dictation. On my iPhone, I can set up Siri to respond to commands when I say, “Hey Siri.” (The phone has to be plugged into a car charger to enable this feature.)
Then I can ask (or rather, command!) Siri to create an email to myself. (I prefer to use my Evernote email address so it sends the message directly into Evernote.) You can use the speech recognition software on your phone to dictate the content of the email.
I wish Apple would release some type of integration between Siri and Evernote. That would solve a lot of problems. But in the meantime, this is a decent solution.
Here’s a helpful video by Andy Traub, explaining how to do this:
Depending on what kind of exercise you do, it’s easy to use dictation on your phone to capture writing ideas. If you’re doing an intense workout, it may not work as well. But if you’re walking or riding a stationary bike, using dictation is a snap.
In addition to making good use of time, there is another benefit to writing while exercising: it increases your creativity. This is a great time to let the ideas flow.
We spent a good chunk of our day waiting. We wait for a class or event to start, wait for something to end, wait to pick up someone, or wait in line. On most days, I pick up my son from school and spend 15-20 minutes waiting in the car line.
Take advantage of these little pockets of time by getting some writing done. I recently installed the Scrivener iOS app on my phone and absolutely love it. It’s the perfect mobile writing tool, and it syncs with the desktop app. Of course, you can use Evernote, email, or a notes app as well, but Scrivener has quickly become my mobile writing tool of choice.
I’m not saying that it’s OK to mentally check out of meetings you are required to attend. Nor am I saying that all meetings are a waste of time. However, the fact remains that in most organizations, meetings take up a lot of time and are not always run efficiently.
If you are ever in meetings where topics are discussed that have little relevance to you, this can be a great time to jot down writing ideas. I always carry a notebook or legal pad with me to meetings. I am constantly writing down ideas and outlines for content.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t engaged. It just means that you are ready to do a little writing when discussion topics arise that don’t require your input.
If you want to get more writing done, you’ll have to be intentional and think creatively. Most of us don’t have large blocks during the day where we don’t have other things going on. We have to take advantage of the little chunks of time that we do have.
These four ideas will help you get more writing done in spaces that you probably already have during the day. If you were intentional about using them, you will be amazed and how much writing you can get done.