There are squillions of tactics you can use to keep procrastination at bay and stay motivated with your work (we’ve been carping on about these for years), but there’s no right or wrong way to approach a writing project. Saying that, scientist and author Cal Newport has identified four writing psychologies – figuring out the pros and cons of each can help you find an approach that works for you. [click to continue…]
It’s all too easy to make promises and plans. To say that you’re going to write a book, to plan on losing that spare tyre, to swear on your life that this year, you’re going to finally learn the double bass. More often than not – those targets go unmet and those dreams go unrealised. And that’s because according to psychologists, you haven’t got an actionable ‘if/when-then’ plan that attaches your goal to an everyday part of your routine. [click to continue…]
The last time we met Liz Flanagan, she was a budding Young Adult (YA) fiction writer, and her first novel Eden Summer hadn’t seen the light of day. Liz had just started a PhD and she was learning all she could from experienced writers. Two years on, Eden Summer’s not only sitting pretty on bookshelves across the world (out in paperback now) but she’s won plaudits from readers, reviewers and been nominated for a prestigious Carnegie Medal. We asked her to look back on her top tips with the benefit of hindsight.
While science tells us that building a regular writing habit is best for productivity, creativity and happiness – it’s just not possible for most writers. For a long time Cheryl Strayed denied her binge writing tendencies but now she champions it. Her honesty helps people to stop judging themselves as failures to form a regular practice. Once you embrace the reality of your over-committed schedule you can realistically plan to write. Get ready, it’s time to binge. [click to continue…]
You know that nagging voice you hear when you haven’t finished something? Well, I’m a compulsive finisher and my nag is relentless. It’s probably why I’m better at writing shorter things like this and why writing anything longer than about 2,000 words gives me the heebie-jeebies. Saying that, I learned that I’m perfectly normal (phew) and that’s why I’m going to be using my inner nag whenever I need to write anything lengthy – and it’s a trick you can use too. [click to continue…]
Faced with her students’ procrastination, designer and lecturer Tash Willcocks set out to prove that small steps lead to big gains. Since February 2013 she’s hand drawn and published an illustration every day. From overcoming fear, to building a community, and finding happiness in the everyday, she shares valuable lessons about developing a daily creative habit. [click to continue…]
We’ve been working with the data visualisation specialists at The Guardian newspaper. We gave them exclusive access to tracking data from Man Booker long-listed novelist Wyl Menmuir. They used the data to tell a story about writing stories – the ups and downs, the dreams and the reality, the distraction, procrastination and ultimately the grit that it takes to finish a novel. We can all learn from this. [click to continue…]
I don’t think of myself as hard-working. In fact through most of my life I’ve been called lazy and yet somehow in the last few years I’ve written four novels, three plays, two text-books, a film script, held down a responsible job full-time and managed to study for a PhD. Written down in a list like that it looks exhausting and I wonder how I did it. And, after a bit of thought I’ve evolved some rules for getting stuff done. This knowledge has been hard won and I don’t always follow it even now, but to me, they seem like decent rules to follow. [click to continue…]
I’ve always considered myself a lonesome kind of writer, most productive when it’s just me and my words. But, I must admit I’ve been missing a trick. This year I’ve been experimenting with different accountability structures. I’ve found that enlisting the support of buddies, coaches and structured writing challenges has transformed my output and progressed my writing in leaps and bounds. [click to continue…]
If you feel 100% sure that the writing project you’re working on is the best (or the worst) thing you’ve ever done: you’re wrong. Research says the only thing you can ever know for certain is that keeping going is best thing to do.