Ever since the Coffee Writers Blog has started, I’ve written, edited or read at least one article every day. The blog itself has been a fantastic motivation to stay disciplined with the process of writing while managing other aspects of life.
I want to share a few methods and habits that I’ve inculcated over this short time period in order to optimize workflow and get more done in terms of writing, editing, and publishing.
Coming up with new ideas
It’s commonplace to run out of ideas as a writer. Inspiration can be as cruel as it is spontaneous, and it doesn’t strike just because you need it to.
I’ve found that doing these activities helps when I’m out of ideas:
1) Pacing about the house
2) Listening to music, especially instrumental music
3) Browsing through words in the dictionary
4) Listing down processes that I find difficult and understanding why
5) Taking a shower
6) Watching a good movie
7) Browsing Pinterest and Behance for ideas
Organizing your ideas and articles
When we do come up with an idea, we write it down somewhere. Sometimes we forget about it, and sometimes we come to realize that it isn’t worth the effort.
For the first few weeks, I used to open a folder on Google Drive and dump all my ideas there. All my existing articles, stories and ideas were in the same folder. As you can imagine, it got messy and I needed to do something about the clutter.
I made three separate folders to make things easier.
1) Idea Phase
– Whenever a new idea strikes, I open this folder and create a new doc with the title of the idea.
– If I can think of some relevant points as to why I think the idea is good, I write those down in the doc.
– This serves as a starting point for me to work on the article the next time I open it. It’s much better than starting with a blank slate!
– I never Google the idea before writing the article. I’ve found that it limits your thinking and sucks the uniqueness out of your articles.
– I write the first draft of the article in the “Idea Phase” folder.
– Once I am satisfied with the uniqueness and structure of the article, I move it over to the Editing folder. This is where the article gets scrutinized by other people.
– Once editing is over, I shift the article into a folder called the “Refinery”.
– The article is never quite ‘done’. It’ll always have scope for improvement, even if it is published.
Initiating discussions and getting feedback
When my article is in the “Editing” folder, it’s always on my mind. For me, it is crucial that I get good feedback – from friends, family or other writers on the blog.
It helps to just:
1) Talk to people about what you have written
– You don’t have to mention the article. Just initiating discussions and asking relevant questions can help a lot
2) Ask for honest feedback and take it objectively
– Good feedback can be hard to get, so look for people who will want to read what you have written. That way, they will pay full attention to your work and try to give you constructive feedback
3) Discard the article if you realize it isn’t worth it
– I’ve ended up doing this to three articles and I’m sure it’ll keep happening. The lesson to take from it is that you learned what not to do as a writer.
So that was a breakdown of my process of writing. It has helped me write consistently over the last one and a half months. Once you decide to set a goal for writing, your mind will automatically start looking for new ideas and stories to put on paper. Not all of them will be good, but writing them will definitely help you improve as a writer.