I wouldn’t say I’m cornered, but there are definitely elements that help the flow of content production. Most of it comes down to focus, because we’re all creative, it’s just how we channel it into something important and stay on task. Writing is one of those interesting professions that requires a constant mental effort. The moment you go into autopilot, your content becomes mushy and uninspiring.
So how did I learn to focus better? Remember college or university where you’d stuff yourself in your room for hours to study? Then you’d take the test in a giant auditorium and vomit from the stress? Well, I didn’t do that. I went to the busiest place, stuck my headphones on, grabbed a coffee and went line by line. The result made me tremendously good at performing in stressful situations.
Conversely, I now need multiple screens, music and caffeine at all times just to keep my mind stimulated. As a writer, I find crappy techno music and laced coffee (regular brew with powdered espresso added) a compelling mix, but that’s me.
I’m very interested in the techniques people develop to be more effective at their work. Everybody finds their own tools and practices, but here are some of the things I do to be better at content writing.
1. Mute the phone.
Phone, email, friends; these are all things that quickly pull your mind away. Unless it’s an emergency, I don’t even check my phone calls or emails while I’m writing. It doesn’t take much to push your mind from your content.
2. Prepare everything in advance.
Get the coffee brewed, line your notes up and make sure your laptop has plenty of power. Content development is a focused trade, and the more information and material you have at your fingertips, the more effective you will use your time.
3. Take a sanity break.
Nothing too long, but a simple stretch and a walk once in a while will help your body cope with the prolonged body stress of writing. How stressful can writing really be on your body you might ask? Well, it’s not powerlifting, but remaining in one rigid posture for hours will mess you up.
4. Crappy techno music.
It’s not because it’s crappy, it’s because music with a lot of words seems to insert itself into my thoughts. Classical music, electronic and other music without lyrics seems to be the best bet for me to get my content writing chugging out. It seems many people work better to music.
I hope this helps other writers who are just getting started build some strategies, but eventually we all find the right mix for us. My best advice is to not make isolation your environment, because once you start working professionally, you can’t lock yourself in your bedroom for hours.