This past week I've had questions about being more productive and organized as a writer.
I'm a productivity nut; I'm always tinkering with my workflow. Not specifically to get more stuff done, although that's a benefit, but so that I can maintain a creative mindset. If I can stay creative, then productivity is guaranteed -- and I'll have more fun.
Here's my best advice: CHUNK your projects, and tasks. I chunk everything right down, into 20-minute blocks of time. The Action Method is an example of chunking.
This article, Five Best Productivity Methods, reports:
"The Action Method proposes that you leave every event, whether it's a meeting or a brainstorming session, with a set of concrete tasks you can perform, called "action steps." "
Here's how chunking works.
Let's say you want to write an ebook.
I don't know about you, but if I put "write an ebook" into my daily task list, I'd find myself staring at it blankly, and postponing the task -- I wouldn't know where to start, and who has the TIME to write an ebook? I certainly don't... ;-)
Chunking ensures that you're never faced with a task so great that it's EASY to put it off...
When I want to write an ebook, I chunk it down, in a mind map.
(Free Mind's an excellent free mind mapping program.)
I put "ebook" in the center of the mind map, and start brainstorming. I give myself ten minutes (using a timer) to put down everything that I need to do in order to write an ebook.
* Pick a topic;
* Research the audience;
* Research the competition;
* Write the sales page (as I shared with you in my No-Fail Formula, I always write the product's sales page -- that is, the advertisement for the ebook, first.)
(If any of these tasks look as if they'll take longer than 20 minutes, I chunk them down even further. Every task must be completed in a 20-minute chunk.)
I open my chunking mind map whenever I'm working on the project, then I can add and remove chunks. I'm constantly reviewing that mind map. It's a road map of where I'm going -- I don't have to worry about the route. I don't even have to know much about the route. I just need to know what I'll be doing for the next 20 minutes.
Tip: use a timer to time your 20-minute sessions.
20 minutes may not sound like much time, but I can:
* write 500 words in 20 minutes;
* have two brainstorming sessions in 20 minutes;
* research keywords in 20 minutes...
You can get a lot done in a 20 minute session, because you know exactly what you'll do, and there's no chance that you'll procrastinate.
Writing is MESSY. Mind maps come into play here, too. You can add document links to a mind map, so that you can click a link, and can open a file, or an URL, instantly.
Scrivener (my favorite writing tool) helps me to stay organized. Rather than a folder filled with hundreds of documents for a long project, I have ONE Scrivener file, and everything related to the project is in that file.
If you're on a Mac, and use Scrivener, you can mind map, and import that mind map directly into Scrivener by saving the mind map as an OPML file. (This video shows you how.) The method works like a charm. It's become an essential part of my workflow.
Ok -- hope something in this article is useful to you. Have fun becoming more productive, and organized.
You Can Make MORE Money Writing Than You Can At Any Day Job
Tired of struggling? Here's some inspiration for you... An ebook called "Fat Loss 4 Idiots" made 21 million dollars in 2009. Last year, Amanda Hocking wrote several short ebooks, and made 2 million dollars. Publishing has changed. You're in charge, if you want to be.
Can you profitably write and sell ebooks? The self-publishing frenzy says that you can. However, you need to know what you're doing, so that you're as sure as you can be that your new ebook will SELL before you start writing it.
It took me five years of writing and selling information products before I stumbled over the formula I've been using ever since.
Now I'm sharing the formula with you. Once you start the right way, ensuring that you have readers who are ready and eager to BUY before you start writing, it's easy to make sales.