Whether you’re a blogger, a novelist, a content writer or some other creative type, one thing is certain. Your bottom line hinges on two things: speed and quality.
Efficiency means that you expend less energy to do the same job. From a writer’s perspective, it means doing the same job in less time.
However, when you sacrifice quality in exchange for speed, your reputation as a writer will suffer. You simply cannot churn out garbage with the hope that you will earn more money.
“Sure, jets are fast and economical, but, oh my, what fun we’ve lost and what leisure we’ve sacrificed in the race to efficiency. Somehow, stepping onto a plane and zooming across the United States in a matter of hours doesn’t hold a candle to the dear, old-fashioned train ride.” ~Ginger Rogers
To make more money as a writer, you must balance speed and quality. It’s not about getting to the finish line in record time.
So, how can you improve efficiency? Here are a few smart strategies that you should try to incorporate into your daily routine:
1. Always Have a Plan
If you are the type of writer who flies by the seat of your pants, you should consider a different approach. Regardless of how short or long your piece is, create an outline for your work.
This helps you to frame your thoughts, and it provides essential flow and structure. Your end result will be more organized and polished.
The aspect of planning extends to your workday as well. What do you want to accomplish today? If you are fortunate enough to have several projects to work on at once, you understandably may feel pulled in multiple directions. By structuring your day, you enable your mind to concentrate on the task in front of you fully.
2. Push Obstacles to the Side
Every path has obstacles, and those obstacles understandably must be dealt with head-on. However, some obstacles are related to the project in front of you, and others are simply a distraction.
Rather than fighting through a distraction, pay attention to it for a minute. Do you need to deal with the obstacle now in order to complete your work? If so, tackle it head-on.
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ~ Moliere
On the other hand, if your obstacle is unrelated, it has no business being at the front of your mind. Learning to compartmentalize is one of the most effective ways to do this.
To compartmentalize, take the distraction that you have identified, and place it in a box in your mind. You are not forgetting about it. Instead, you will come back to it at a time that you choose. This is easier said than done for some people. As you practice, it will become easier.
3. Know When to Quit
One of the great things about making a to-do list for your workday is that you will know exactly when you can put your laptop to the side and call it a day. Busy writers often get buried deep in their work. They may get so deeply involved in one project that they do not look up for hours.
On the other hand, they may be pulled in a dozen directions by different projects, and they may feel an internal drive to keep going.
“You can do anything, but not everything.” ~ David Allen
The problem is that writing is not the same as working in a factory and churning out widget after widget. A bit of your heart and soul must go into your work. There is a point when you are simply zapped for the day.
You could keep working, but will you do it quickly? Will it be quality work? Burning the midnight oil as a writer is not a sure path toward efficiency.
4. Seek Inspiration
As a writer, you pull from all of your deep stores of knowledge to produce quality work. When you are inspired, you will rarely run out of thoughts to share with the world.
On the other hand, when you remain holed up at home in front of your computer and rarely get out, your inspiration well can run dry. An inspired mind and efficient writing go hand in hand.
Something as simple as taking a mindful walk around the block to appreciate the clouds in the sky and the birds in the trees can do wonders for curing sluggishness. Reading the works from other writers and spending time with your favorite people are only a few of the many other ways that you can find deep inspiration.
As you review these four strategies, you will notice that they have a single element in common. They all are rooted in your thoughts. Efficiency is not a race; it’s a mind game. These strategies will help you to manage your thoughts so that you can be as efficient as possible.