It is especially writers who need to some organization in their creative activities.
Photo Credit: Breakingpic
Complete freedom often means no writing
While writing is a creative activity and should be done unrestrained, it should be grounded into a well-organized work flow.
Many aspiring writers don’t do it because they think it will have a negative impact on their creativity. The problem is, that without any sort of organization you will most likely not get any writing done at all. It is not uncommon for a writer that he has to force himself to sit down and actually write.
Remembering this is especially important if you want to become a professional writer and aim for publication.
In younger years I often told myself that restraining and forcing myself to write would have a negative impact on my writing.
I’d wait for inspiration to come and I only wrote when I really felt like it. I told myself I was a free spirit or an artist. My writing should happen naturally, completely unrestrained and without any outside interferences.
That was all good and nice. Writing unrestrained is important. The problem was that I never really wrote anything. Most of my time was just spend thinking about my ideas, daydreaming or procrastinating in the form of taking notes for stories I wanted to write.
The change from free to organized
The change was not from free writing to restricted writing, but instead to organized writing.
I didn’t restrict myself, but instead I organized my creative activity.
I realized that I couldn’t go on like I did before. I was not getting any work done. Sure, I finished the occasional short story, but that was one story per couple of month.
This didn’t work. I needed to get serious and write every day.
As you can imagine, my first tries weren’t too fruitful. I would do it for a couple days before I gave up again. I wasn’t giving up though and I tried again and again and slowly my persistence was rewarded.
In time I’d learn more about how to create a good and organized work flow and what was necessary for it to keep going.
For quite some time now I have a very good, organized work flow going, I get my daily writing done and I never miss my deadlines.
Why organize your writing?
Now this organization is not only important to get your daily writing done, but it is necessary for other things as well.
Like in any real organization, you need to plan your activities, you need regular writing hours and you need to review your results at the end of the week.
Now I know those things might not be important for an aspiring writer that is just starting out. I agree, the most important thing is to start writing, to enjoy it and make it a habit that sticks.
At one point in the future though you will need to be more organized. If you get published and you decide you want to earn a living by being a writer, you will be in dire need for an organization like that. Without it, you won’t be able to follow deadlines, you might not have a steady output of work, you will have a harder time getting better learning from your mistakes and many other things.
So I think it is not a bad idea to learn about how to organize yourself better early on.
Turn your writing into an organization
Here are a few ideas and ways that can bring more of an organization into your writing and can help you in the long run:
Writing for an extended period of time and doing so daily is not as easy as it sounds. You need to build up the discipline to do so. Without it you will have a hard time to follow a writing routine. It might not be a bad idea to first work on your discipline.
Create a writing routine
There is no way around it. You need to create a writing routine for yourself. Take a look at your weekly schedule and find out when you have time to write. For each day you should set up a time when you start writing and also for how long you are going to do it. It is best if the time is the same each day. As an example, a very simple routine could be that you start writing at 9pm and you do it for an hour till 10pm.
Without this sort of routine, you can’t hope for your writing to become a habit. You have to set up a fixed starting time, because otherwise you will most likely end up procrastinating and pushing your writing off till it is too late.
Set up a quota
Instead of simply telling yourself that you are going to write for an hour per day, you should give yourself a minimum number of words you want to get done during that hour. This will force you to actually do your work.
Without a quota you might just end up sitting in front of the computer daydreaming, procrastinating or simply staring at the screen doing nothing.
Set up deadlines
Deadlines are a new favorite of mine. Telling myself I have to write one blog post per day forces me to get my work done. It is very surprising how much you can do, when you only have a limited amount of time. The same should be true for your creative writing.
Tell yourself you want to finish a short every week or every two weeks. Once that time is over, you can’t go back to work on it again.
Try to find an amount of time that is challenging, but that doesn’t push you too far.
Share your work
This one goes hand in hand with the above deadlines. Once the time is up, you have to share your work. This can mean that you publish a blog article, share a short story online, or that you actually send your work to a publisher, magazine or agent.
This way you will lose you fear of sharing your work. It is common that man aspiring writers are scared of sharing their work with other people. In time you will see it as just a normal part of your work.
Reaching out to people
Networking has become increasingly important in our time. There are millions of young writers who are doing the same thing as you are doing. If you ever hope to make it, you need to get your name out there. The best way of doing that is to connect yourself with other people. These can be fellow writers, bloggers, agents, editors, or simply people who know more about the industry than you do. The truth is you can’t do this alone, not anymore.
Make it an effort to reach out to people regularly. You should at least reach out to one person per week.
Review the results
At the end of the week you should have a look at all the work you did.
Which things did go well and which didn’t? Were you able to hit your quota each day? Why or why not? Where you able to follow your deadlines? Did you share your work and reach out to people?
If you did everything you wanted to do, how did it go?
Take note about how many people you reached out to and who they were. If you send out work to publishers, magazines or agents, you should have an overview of how many pieces you have circulating.
This should either be the last thing you do each week or the first. You have to plan out what to do for the new week. It can really help to know what pieces you exactly want to work on, which ones you want to finish and what their content is. The same goes for all other activities, make plans who you want to reach out to and where you want to share your work for example.
You can also try to raise your daily writing quota a little bit each week or every two weeks to challenge yourself a little more.
You can also go as far as to plan each day, but that might be a little over the top.
These are in my opinion the most important steps to transform your writing into a more organized task. I don’t think you have to or should start doing all of it at once, since it can make writing seem a little too much of a forced activity or a chore. Instead, introduce them one by one into your daily writing so it comes natural.
In the end, the most important thing is always that you get your writing done and that you enjoy it.