6 Weird but Awesome Hacks for a Happy Writing Life
Whether you’re a full-time writer, a hobby writer, or a writer with another full-time job, you have to admit that being a writer is a pretty good life. On the whole, we’re pretty lucky to do what we love. But…
But like any lifestyle, it’s got some rough spots, some things that need to be smoothed out. Such as:
6. Get your writing juices flowing early with writing podcasts.
Writing podcasts are a way to instantly connect with your writing self, whether it’s 6:30am or 9:30pm. As a writer with another full-time job, I write early in the morning, late at night, and on weekends, but I still have trouble just jumping right into the writing mindset when I’ve just rolled out of bed, or when I’m tired.
But when I turn on the Writing University podcast, hosted at the University of Iowa, I can always find a topic that gets me excited for words, even before my first cup of coffee.
5. Mechanical pencils are where it’s at.
If you like to write in long-hand, you know that every writing implement has its issues. Gel pens get clogged, ballpoint pens get stuck and pencils make your hands smell like graphite and kindergarten.
But consider the mechanical pencil for a moment. Unless you pump out the graphite point too far (user error), mechanical pencils will never fail you. They’re smooth like a ballpoint pen, easy to see like a gel pen and best of all, they’re erasable.
I know we all like the cachet of writing with pens, but for absolutely hassle-free writing, consider the humble mechanical pencil. It’s pretty awesome.
4. Writing in a coffeeshop? Bring cash.
Unfortunately, I learned this one from experience, and I’m a slow learner.
Mostly, I write at the coffee table in my downstairs family room, but I love to write at local Starbucks when I get the chance (no indie coffeeshops in my fair rural town).
However, developing coffeeshop-dwelling habits can get pretty expensive unless you plan ahead. Leave your debit card at home, and bring only exactly the amount of cash you plan to spend while you’re at the coffee shop, and no more.
Go to a coffee shop for sweet writing bliss. (Tweetable)
3. Keep your preferred hot beverage hot without leaving your writing spot.
Mr. Coffee makes a USB coffee mug warmer. Use it for coffee, use it for tea, use it to keep yourself in your writing chair and not walking back and forth to the microwave to warm up your java when it gets cold.
Just use it. It’s convenient and ensures that a cold cup will never again break your concentration.
2. Put distance between yourself and the Internet.
If you’re the kind of writer who can’t get through a paragraph without compulsively opening a browser window (hi! I’m one of you), this tip is for you. Freedom is a software program (it costs $10 – no affiliation) that will not allow you to access the Internet for a set period of time while you’re writing.
For more low-tech solutions to this problem, unplug your Wi-Fi. I know this seems harsh, but sometimes unplugging it is the best way to break yourself of the browser-opening habit. Eventually, you’ll be able to leave the browser window alone when writing. It’s just going to sting a little bit.
1. Schedule breaks slightly more often than you need them.
My ambition works against me when I’m trying to hit a writing goal. If I say to myself, “I’m going to sit in this chair and not get up for two hours,” I know I’m setting myself up for failure.
I need breaks about every 30 minutes or I’ll run out of writing steam, so I set a timer for 20 minutes, and take the break while I’m still excited about what I’m writing. This is a variation of Ernest Hemingway’s famous advice to stop your writing midsentence, while you still know exactly what’s going to happen next, so that the next time you sit down to write, you can pick up your momentum where you left off. Same idea.
What are your favorite writing lifehacks? How have you creatively solved some of the common problems presented by the writers’ lifestyle?
We’d love it if you’d share them with us in the comments.
This post was written by regular Positive Writer contributor, Shanan Haislip.
About Shanan Haislip
I'm a full-time business writer, an essayist, and webmaster at The Procrastiwriter, a blog about ways to fit writing in around a full-time life (without going insane). I'm also a regular contributor on PositiveWriter.com and contributed to The Audacity to be a Writer. Join me on Twitter at @Write_Tomorrow.