I wanted to share five proactive habits aimed at helping you to achieve your writing goals for 2020! So without further ado lets get straight to the point.
Organise your projects
Identify what your main writing projects will be this year. It’s difficult getting things in order when they’re all just hanging in the air. Instead of letting your mind wonder and beginning to worry, start to name, categorise and subhead your projects into groups.
Here’s your chance to get visually creative by using mind maps, Venn-diagrams, flow charts and tables. I tend to keep it simple by using spider diagrams and bullet points as they’re hassle free and can be completed in no time at all.
According to Psychology Today, clutter can have disastrous effects on our stress levels. For example, when we know we aren’t as organised as we should be, we begin to harbour anxiety about our productivity and our feelings of negativity can spiral. Being disorganised also stifles our creativity because we are not using methods such as the ones mentioned above (brainstorming, diagrams etc.) in order to get rid of the excessive clutter which acts as a stimulant for stress. When we know we are putting systems in place to organise our projects and make space for them, we begin to feel less stressed.
Write your thoughts down
Fiction writers’ minds are always flowing with different ideas. Even when we have writer’s block, it’s often because we don’t know how to execute a pre-existing idea. Try to write a stream of consciousness and let those thoughts and ideas flow onto the pages. In addition, research suggests that there are physical benefits of putting pen to paper. In his breakthrough Psychological Science article (1997), Writing about Emotional experiences as Therapeutic Process, Dr James Pennebaker found that personal journaling contributed to greater physical and mental wellbeing.
Make lists. Lots of them.
It can take a lot of orchestration and string pulling to actually achieve your goals. So isn’t it great that the human brain apparently loves to make lists? According to Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik, the brain has a fixation with unfinished tasks and is actually better at remembering tasks that need to be done rather than completed ones. This sounds about right. How many of us have those niggling mental reminders about the complaint we need to make, the refund that we need or that left out shopping list item? More of us should be presenting our writing goals as lists; multiple steps which bring our ideas to fruition- they’re an absolute no brainer and written tangibly on paper at that!
Make note of relevant websites, ideas, YouTube tutorials programmes that you might forget otherwise. Anything that holds relevant information and ideas for inspiration needs to be written down and you’ll be well on your way to getting your plans into action.
Summarise your writing sessions
Note what went well and what could have been done differently next time. Evaluate them and use these summaries to enhance your writing experiences and increase productivity.
Talk to other writers
Writing can be one of the loneliest crafts but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of writers worry about their process and whether they are doing it right. There is no right way of writing but its comforting to hear other writers speak about their process and mention what works for them. Look for an event on Eventbrite or Meetup and add a social element to your writing. The #writingcommunity on twitter is also golden with tons of advice and information for writers of all disciplines and degrees of experience.
What organisation techniques do you employ for your personal projects? Let me know in the comments below!