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Three ideas to improve writer efficiency: Editor's Notes #398
August 23, 2023

Good writing takes more than just time; it wants your best moments and the best of you.
—Gordon Atkinson

In this issue:

1. Three ideas to improve writer efficiency
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1.Three ideas to improve writer efficiency
Here are three ideas to improve writer efficiency. I think at least one of them may surprise you.
  • Use your creativity peaks and valleys.

    We all have creativity peaks and valleys, and yours are not likely to be exactly the same as mine are, so it’s worthwhile to spend some time understanding your own creativity topography. Not all writing tasks require the same state of mind. Research takes different energy than rewriting does, and both demand less creativity than developing a plot does. I commend this issue’s Interesting Web site below as a starting point for exploring when to tackle various writing tasks.

  • Sometimes not writing is writing.

    Even when you understand your creativity peaks and valleys, it’s easy to fall prey to general advice that may not be best for you in any particular situation. Many books on writing tell writers they must write every day, and many writers do so. But there is much more to writing than putting words in order. Mowing the lawn can be writing. Driving to work can be writing. Cleaning the gutters can be writing. Going for a walk can be writing. When you live with a writing project, almost everything influences your writing. Being in touch with your writing project as you go about other tasks keeps the writing alive and often deepens and widens your ideas. (And, yes, of course, putting words down on paper is also required at some point.)

  • Use a timer.

    Quality is as important as quantity of time when we write. There are apps that can remind you when to start or stop an activity. I find that having a warning alarm that goes off before I need to move on to another activity frees my mind to concentrate on what I’m doing instead of watching the clock. The alarm system is my favourite aspect of my cell phone. A kitchen timer can do the same thing. If you haven’t relaxed your mind by setting a timer to tell you when to start or stop writing (or both), give it a go. Then notice whether that allowed you more creativity or efficiency.

Time is precious. The more we understand ourselves, the more efficiently we can use our writing time.

2.Tickled my funny bone
I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

3. Interesting Web site
The link here is to an article that is actually two drafts of one article about our personal creativity topography and how to use it. I found both versions interesting and helpful, and I enjoyed this peek into another writer’s creative process. You might enjoy it, too.

4. Writing prompt
Hidden behind the shed, beneath a massive squash plant, the little pink plastic shovel kept its secret throughout the summer. Make this the opening or the ending sentence of a piece of writing, or for even more of a challenge, make it both. As always, I would love to see what you turn this into.

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