Friday, January 15, 2016

Top Three Productivity Tools for Writers

1.       HOURGLASS
When you just can’t get seem to get words down on the page, invest in an hourglass. These old-school timers usually come in 15-minute, 30-minute, and hour-long versions. I’ve got a lovely one in which the sands of my writing time run out within 15 minutes. I sit down with my pen and notebook—always better when I’m feeling blocked—turn over the hourglass, and go. BY the time the sands have run out, I’m up and running—and don’t even notice. Anyone can write for 15 minutes, even if all you write is “I hate writing” over and over again. Which you won’t do, because your writing brain will kick in and you’ll be off!  Note: You can always just set an electronic timer for 15 minutes as well.

In my writing room, I’ve covered a closet door with cork, and use it as the backdrop for my plot, which I outline scene by scene on index cards and arrange—and re-arrange—as I write my story. It’s a great visual tool, and helps me keep track of where I am in my story—and where I’m going. If you’d rather do this electronically, try Scrivener, which apparently has a similar tool many of my writer friends swear by.

3.       APPLE WATCH
Like most writers, I sit too much. Sitting is the new smoking—bad for your body and your brain. My Apple Watch tells me when I’ve been sitting for an hour nonstop—and prompts me to get up and move around. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we need to get up and walk around for at least two minutes every hour—and doing so may lower your risk of premature death by 33 percent.  So when I got my Apple Watch for New Year’s, I started listening listened when it told me to stand up. I’ve lost five pounds, and my shoulders and back feel better, too. You don’t need an Apple Watch for this, there are Fit Bits and timers and more—but I have to say that I love mine.

What productivity tools do you use to make the most of your writing time? I’d love to hear from you. And may this year be your most productive writing year ever!

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