If you’re looking for writing tips, then you’ve probably heard all about having a dedicated space for writing and establishing a routine. While there’s nothing wrong with these ideas (in fact, I’ve found them rather useful myself) I’ve realized over the years that there are some very small things I do that make a big difference. These things are so small that they might not seem significant, but I’ve found that they’ve made a huge difference in my productivity.
Auto-Save Features: I’ve always been a big fan of Microsoft, and I was thrilled when Office got an auto-save upgrade. Every time I start typing, Word is backing me up. I did a decent job of saving my work on a regular basis, but if you’ve ever lost an amazing paragraph that you could never make right again, then you know where I’m coming from. This feature is becoming pretty common on word processors, so use it. Automatic cloud-based backup is also essential.
Timers: I used to sit down at my computer and feel as though I needed to force my way through several hours of writing before I deserved a break. I could do it, but it left me feeling burnt out. My body was stiff from sitting still so long, and I was constantly looking for reasons to avoid my work.
I’ve found, however, that it’s much more effective for me to get up and away from the computer regularly. I set a timer on my computer for an hour (and I really try not to look at it), after which I get up and move around for ten minutes. Do whatever works for you during those ten minutes: clean the bathroom, take your bearded dragon for a walk, or see how many sit-ups you can do. Just get away from your desk and move your body. It’ll keep you from getting stiff and sore, and I find that it refreshes my mind and lets me come back to my work with more enthusiasm.
Good Health: I know, it doesn’t seem like it should have much to do with writing. And there’s no doubt that some great writing can come from going through very debilitating situations. But overall, I’ve found that the better care I take of myself, the more energy I have. That makes it easier to get the creative juices flowing without falling asleep at my keyboard. Take your vitamins, eat right, and don’t OD on coffee just because you’re a writer.
Background Noise: Something can be said for silence, but I really prefer to have some music going when I write. Since I don’t like anything with lyrics, I go for soundtrack-style stuff. On Pandora, I like the Blue Man Group and Audiomachine. YouTube also has some great stuff, and you can check out my playlist here. It’s even more effective with headphones to better drown out the chaos around you.
What little things do you do that help your writing? I’d love to hear about them!
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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