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!

Win a copy of my new book, WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, on Good Reads:

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At January 15, 2016 at 9:35 AM , Blogger vixstiefel said...

Good stuff, Paula! The Apple Watch sounds droolworthy!

At January 15, 2016 at 9:38 AM , Blogger Susan Oleksiw said...

I love notecards. I'll have to look into the watch idea.

At January 17, 2016 at 6:30 PM , Blogger Jess Anastasi said...

This year I decided to put a vision board up in my study, partly to focus my goals, partly to remind myself why I write, and partly to remind myself that I have a life beyond the computer!
I've heard of writers using an egg timer before, but never an hour glass. I LOVE this idea and am going to go out and see if I can find myself a fancy one for my desk.

At January 19, 2016 at 9:41 AM , Blogger Paula Munier said...

I love my Apple Watch! Big time. And I love my index cards and cork boards. My hourglass is lovely, I got it at Marshalls for next to nothing but you'd never know it!

At January 19, 2016 at 1:01 PM , Blogger Paula Munier said...

I love my Apple Watch! Big time. And I love my index cards and cork boards. My hourglass is lovely, I got it at Marshalls for next to nothing but you'd never know it!

At August 17, 2016 at 6:22 AM , Blogger Jim_McMahon said...

I love the idea of the vision board, much easier than writing the first 60 pages, then going back and visualizing the scenes, then adding the details.

At December 13, 2016 at 7:50 AM , Blogger Pamela Campbell said...

I am very visual and a pantsier turned plansier - thanks to Paula - introduced me to index cards at a Algonkian Writers Retreat in Pacific Grove. I move around so much often by train that I was at a loss how to do the cork board idea. A friend in my writing group suggested I use post-its and a file folder. Worked perfectly - thanks Dana!

At January 2, 2017 at 7:00 AM , Blogger Marie Sultana Robinson said...

I love index cards, but I had a problem. Currently, I'm living in a small space, and after working with the cards for a couple months. They were moved into some black hole. I like the cork board on Scrivener. Though the tactile feel of cards to shuffle is wonderful. I have a digital timer that beeps and is magnetic.

At January 2, 2017 at 8:10 AM , Blogger Paula Munier said...

Understood. I know a lot of writers love scrivener, but I'm not one of them. I live in a small cottage, so I converted some closet doors to cork. I'll post a photo....


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