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.
Whatever you write, there’s a tool out there to help you manage your muse. Planning my current writing project has forced me to abandon my once trusty index cards and seek out new ways to get organised. I asked writers what approaches they use – from good old pen and paper, to apps and cloud based systems. [click to continue…]
The path to excellence in any field comes through hard graft – that’s true. But research finds that people at the very top of their game are also deeply curious, with multiple, unrelated (and often quite bonkers) creative hobbies. So, focus your mind – but never close it. Go off on tangents, experiment and play – hundreds of Nobel prize laureates can’t be wrong. [click to continue…]
It’s no secret I’m a productivity freak. A friend recently drew a cartoon birthday card of me as Little Miss Just Get It Done and my secret Santa gift from colleagues at Emerald Group Publishing this Christmas was a mug emblazoned with the words: Get Shit Done. At home, my shelves are overflowing with books on productivity, self-management and life hacks – if you set about reading them now you wouldn’t have any time for anything else for the next twelve months. [click to continue…]
Writers can be a bit sniffy about productivity. Some equate being highly prolific with producing dross. They prefer to constantly refine and perfect The One Idea they have. Perhaps because they think their idea is so special. Perhaps because they think they’ll never have another idea again. [click to continue…]
You wouldn’t tell someone wanting to lose weight to ‘just eat less’. Neither would you tell someone who wanted to get fit to simply ‘move about a bit more’. It might be true, but it’s not very helpful. So why would you do the same with writing? Having a big goal – whatever that goal is – needs to be approached right and we think that means having a system and breaking it down into small, achievable steps – Kaizen style. [click to continue…]
I love tracking. Ever since I was a child I’ve counted and logged a whole bunch of activities. I’m fascinated at how things change over time and like figuring what it means so I can optimise and improve what I do. That’s why I’m now an avid streaker.