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10 Unusual Writing Tips to Make You More Productive

unusual writing tipsNo matter whether you’re a first time writer or an experienced one, it goes without saying that we all have our on-days and our off-days. Sometimes we can sit down in front of our computers and pump out a 2,000 word blog post in a couple of hours. Other days, five espressos in a row won’t help you get 500 words down (although you will probably feel compelled to get some exercise).

It’s those off days I’m here to talk about by providing you with a few unusual writing tips to make you more productive, or at least help you get past a bit of writer’s block.

We’ll start by counting down.

#10 Kick Up the Volume

I’m putting this unusual writing tip number 10 because it’s most likely the one you’re already familiar with and have tried. Simply switching on the radio won’t do though – oh no – there’s far too many commercials to distract you. And songs that have lyrics just won’t do any good either.

Fortunately, there are plenty of genres, artists and websites that are perfect for writers to utilize, limiting (if not completely eliminating) their distractions.

Here are a few to get you started:

Post-Rock Instrumental Light Dance/Techno Classical
God is an Astronaut Rodrigo y Gabriela Lindsey Stirling Bach
Explosions in the Sky David Garrett Hans Zimmer Beethoven
Jakob The Piano Guys Escala Mozart
This Will Destroy You Antoine Dufour Two Steps From Hell Brahms
Arcana Ewan Dobson Apocalyptica Chopin

 

Of course, given that writing is totally subjective (just like books), you might have completely different tastes. What other bands or artists do you like to listen to while you write? Please – leave a comment on this post and offer more suggestions!

Here are a few different sites you can go to listen to music for free, or for a small cost:

  • Pandora – My top choice, you can access it with a proxy if you’re outside the U.S. Free or pay $4.99/month for high-quality streaming and no commercials
  • Spotify – We all know this one
  • YouTube – Not recommended because of ads, unless you subscribe to  YouTube Red
  • Never Ending Playlist – It plays a never ending playlist of songs for you
  • Rainy Mood – Just the sound of rain falling if you don’t want music

#9 Change Your Clothes

They say clothes make the man (or the woman). They also say to “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” In both of these cases, they may be right.

According to an article on Reader’s Digest, your clothes can have many unexpected influences on your mental state. Your attire can make you think better, make you more feel more creative, powerful or in control of your actions.

It’s not only Reader’s Digest reporting things like this though, the Journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science published a study in 2015 about how the way a person dresses affects their psychological state. In the study, student volunteers at the University of Columbia were told to dress either in clothes they would wear to class or for a job interview. Across the board, students who dressed more formally tended to exhibit higher-level holistic thinking.

Change your clothes – you might be surprised at how it helps you write.

#8 Take a Hike

take a hikeNo – I’m not telling you get out of here! Well, I am – kinda. Take a hike, go for a walk, go for a jog, go outside and play Pokémon Go, go Geocaching – anything to change your surroundings and get you thinking.

We think better when we’re active, which in turn, enhances our creativity. Again – I’m calling my old friend, science, to help back this one up. Although according to Scientific American, the reason for why being active helps us think better is not completely known, it’s suggested that the increased blood flow gives us more energy and oxygen, which might have something to do with it.

Personally, I just think a change of scenery and doing something different with our day gives us an all around mental boost.

I started writing this article in front of my computer. After finishing the first item, I had to go out for salsa lessons. While driving, my brain started going into overdrive thinking of all sorts of the unusual writing tips I’ve picked up over time. I could hardly wait to get back and continue writing.

#7 Change Your Font

Finally!

An unusual writing tip that actually involves writing.

I find this one to be particularly useful while editing, although it can certainly help your writing improve too. While you’re at it, also change your font size.

We become so used to looking at the words we wrote that it can become incredibly easy to overlook errors that should be fairly obvious. By changing your font, you are changing the way your eyes see the letters on your computer screen. Again, a little bit of difference can do wonders.

On that note – have you noticed that the font I use on Writing a Book Café is slightly different than what you see on most websites, and that my links are red instead of blue?

Kind of grabs your attention, doesn’t it?

#6 Dictate Your Dialogue

Something many writers struggle with is writing compelling dialogue between their characters. Let’s face it, we write differently than we talk. When we speak, our sentences are rarely perfect (unless we’re presenting a prepared speech at Toastmasters).

Our voices RISE… they fall.

We… um, say words we like, totally shouldn’t.

We misuse the reflexive pronoun like myself.

Speaking in the passive voice is something that happens.

We do not talk like a robot does and we do not vocalize entire sentences without the usage of words with apostrophes.

We start to say one thing and drone on when we really meant to We slip up.

And so on and so forth.

By the way, the software that I recommend to dictate your dialogue is called Dragon Naturally Speaking. The software is absolutely fantastic as it learns your voice and speaking style and then personalizes your experience, becoming increasingly accurate the more you use it. Overall, it can save you tons of writing time.

#5 Give Your Brain a Writing Exercise

Writing ExerciseSometimes we just get stuck. Call it writer’s block, call it a brain fart, call it whatever you want – sometimes, we simply cannot think of what to write next.

You’ve already changed your clothes, gone for a jog and changed your font. What else can you do?

Simple – try writing about something completely different.

In fact, you can make it really easy on yourself. Not sure what else to write about? Go visit reddit’s /r/WritingPrompts subreddit. The concept here is simple – a user will post a writing prompt (prefixed with a [WP]) and it’s up to you to write a short story about it. There are plenty of prompts to choose from and new ones coming all the time. Here’s my most popular short story, a response to the WP:

[WP] You go out on a mission to kill a giant, a quest from which no man have returned. When you get there you find out the giant is overall a cool dude and the men that never returned just stayed with him because he was so fun

#4 Revise Scenes Based on Your Mood

You know how people say you should never send an email if you’re drunk or mad at someone?

Well, that’s great advice and you should probably listen to it – but what you should do is take this unusual writing tip and channel those emotions into your book. Have a character that’s super drunk? Great! Write or revise that scene after you’ve had a few pints (then again for spelling and grammar when you’re sober).

Did you just get cut off in traffic or into a huge fight with a close friend? Channel that rage into the part of your book where the super villain just killed your protagonist’s best friend.

It can be really challenging to write about someone being super angry when you’re blissfully happy. Make the best of a bad situation by conveying your own emotions into your writing.

#3 Kill Your Protagonist

Okay, you don’t actually have to kill your protagonist, but take a few moments and think about what would happen if you did. How would their friends react? What would their enemies do? How would it change the world around them?

Throw your characters a different curve ball and be crazy about it – what would happen if an meteorite struck their planet? How about if a zombie apocalypse suddenly broke out?

You don’t actually have to write about any of these things, but simply thinking about them might give your inner gardener some unexpected insights as to how your characters will react. You could potentially learn something about them that you had never even anticipated.

Granted, this unusual writing tip will probably be harder to implement if you’re writing a non-fiction book about teaching dogs how to perform tricks. Perhaps you could envision writing a chapter about teaching dogs how to speak English.

#2 Chew Gum – Drink Water

Although perhaps not at the same time.

According to research, chewing gum helps you concentrate on tasks that require continuous monitoring. On a series of tasks, participants in a study who were chewing gum plain and simply outperformed those who weren’t chewing gum.

At the same time, drinking water has tremendous health benefits, including improving your focus and reaction times. Not only that, but it can help fill the void in your stomach and discourage you from snacking. Personally, I go through 5-6 bottles of water a day. The downside of course is that you may find more interruptions by the increased number of bathroom breaks.

One more – eat bananas. In addition to having tons of health benefits, they can also make you feel happier. And a happy writer is a productive writer.

#1 Use Distraction Free Writing Software

There’s only so much we can do to reduce the number of distractions and interruptions that come from real life – phone calls, people knocking on our door, the fire alarm going off… what we can do is take control over our computer distractions.

There are many different distraction free word processors out there, but the one I am going to recommend is called Worst Draft. In terms of a distraction free writing experience, it doesn’t get much more minimalist than this. Download the software for free and then get to writing. The software itself is actually created by a reddit user going by the handle, ‘CAPTAINLOCKS.’ You can find more information about the program here.

worst draft

Distraction free writing software, “Worst Draft”

Speaking of writing distraction free, I have one final writing tip for you. Stop looking for unusual writing tips and start writing!

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By | 2017-05-18T18:30:24+00:00 July 13th, 2016|Writing|0 Comments

About the Author:

Author of ELEMENTALISTS: THE FIRES OF CANICUS. Owner of WritingABookCafe.com. Helping writers succeed from planning, to publishing and beyond.