How to write more

  1. Create opportunities to write
  2. Place yourself in the right environment
  3. Quantity over quality
  4. Work in sprints
  5. Find your workflow style
  6. Gamify the act
  7. Enjoy the process

Create opportunities to write

You shouldn’t make excuses for not writing because you have more free time than you realize:

  • When you wake up
  • During your commute
  • During a break
  • When you’re in the bathroom
  • When you’re waiting for something
  • When you feel inspired
  • When you feel bored
  • Before you go to bed
  • During the weekends

Examine your daily schedule because you can find many moments to write.

Place yourself in the right environment

You can accomplish a lot of writing when you’re in the right environment:

  • In bed
  • On the couch
  • Indoors
  • At the office
  • Outdoors
  • In nature
  • In a quiet place
  • In a noisy place

Find the settings that are conducive to writing and condition yourself to write in them.

Quantity over quality

There are two obstacles that every writer faces:

  1. Writer’s block
  2. Perfectionism

To resolve writer’s block, you can:

  • take a break
  • go on a detour
  • get inspired
  • constrain your writing to a theme

To overcoming perfectionism, turn off your self-editing mode.

Write first, edit later.

Let your stream of consciousness take over and focus on quantity over quality. Follow the Pareto principle since most of your writing will suck and that should be a given. However, 20% of your writing will contain gems. So it’s a good skill to be able to write more. Set a timer and force yourself to write nonstop.

Perfect is the enemy of the good

This is something even I struggle with daily (see post “Perfection and success”).

Work in sprints

This is similar to quantity over quality. When you try to do everything at once, it can lead to perfection paralysis. So it’s recommended to work in short bursts.

Some authors who follow this strategy leave their work partially finished so they can come back to it later. This way, motivation is maintained and burnout is prevented.

Work in sprints, don’t do everything at once.

Find your workflow style

Just like how some people are visual learners and others are auditory learners, you’ll need to find the style that works best for you.

You can experiment with:

  • typing
  • writing by hand
  • dictation
  • recording a video or call

Some authors don’t do any writing but are interviewed on a topic. The interview then gets transcribed and edited into an article or book. Ultimately, writing is more about what you have to say than how it gets done.

Every individual is unique, so you want to discover the approach that best fits you.

Gamify the act

Gamification keeps us engaged. With the proper rewards and punishments, we can use this technique to keep ourselves committed and on track. Jerry Seinfeld does this by forcing himself to write a joke every day.

So figure out what your daily activity is going to be and hold yourself accountable so you don’t break the chain. Write everyday.

Enjoy the process

For some, writing is a form of enjoyment, but for others, it’s a chore. If you feel stressed about writing, ask yourself, “When did this start happening?”

Don’t feel intimidated that your writing needs to be great (focus on quantity over quality). Writing is an act of self-expression. Never feel that what you write (personally) is going to be judged by others.

If you have any trauma related to writing, let it surface. Acknowledge it and move on. Revisit your reasons for writing again. Find a happy memory and use that as a starting point so you can enjoy writing again.

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