The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

Category: Productivity (Page 1 of 7)

Does Exercise Really Affect Your Productivity Levels? I’m About to Find Out…

Everyone always harks on about how great exercise is.

It helps you sleep better, it improves your memory, it stops you from ageing as quickly, and it increases productivity.

Or so they say.

I’ve heard all these claims and always felt inclined to exercise more, but the truth is, I just don’t enjoy it.

Exercise is also one of the main things that triggers my asthma, so that just puts me off further.

I was fairly fit as a child, dancing and swimming regularly, but when I hit my teenage years and suffered from nasty period pains, I stopped going.

(Yes, I know it’s good for them, but when you’re a teenager and no painkillers help, are you going to choose exercise or bed?)

With the exception of a few brief stints of gym-going, I’ve been pretty unfit for the last ten years or so.

This wasn’t such a big deal when I was in my early twenties, but as I get older, I can feel my body starting to protest.

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How to get into the Writing Zone

Life is stressful. It’s even more stressful when you have to come home from a tough day at work then sit down and write. How do you shake off the day’s stresses and focus on your fiction? (Or nonfiction or poetry?) How do you give your characters the attention they deserve?

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Don’t Myth Out on Writing Competitions!

There are hundreds of writing competitions held every year, often with tempting prizes, yet many writers don’t enter.

There might be good reasons for this in some cases, but I’ve heard many that simply don’t hold water.

I’ve won 25 writing competitions and literary awards, and part of the reason why is that I’ve ignored some of the myths that prevent writers from entering and winning. I’ve also judged both poetry and prose competitions, so I know what not to do!

Give yourself the best chance by not falling for these common myths:

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7 Life-Changing Books Every Writer Needs to Read

What I love the most about being a writer is that the journey is never over. There is always more to learn, and always things we can do to improve.

The number one thing we can do to improve is read. Reading not only teaches us what other writers in our genre are doing, but it also subconsciously improves our language and empathy skills. Reading puts us into the characters’ minds, allowing us to be as close to walking in another person’s footsteps as we can get without being telepathic.

There are lots of books for writers out there. Up until I started my MA, I’d read very few of them. When I started my MA, I made an effort to read more of them.

Since then, I’ve branched out into reading nonfiction in general. I’d never judged fiction by its genre in the past, so why did I just nonfiction so harshly?

I’d always assumed nonfiction meant boring.

It really, really, doesn’t.

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My Writing Goals for 2017

I achieved a lot in 2016, but it’s always important to look onwards and upwards and learn from our mistakes. My writing goals for 2017 are a reflection of what I learnt in 2016, and where I want to be by the end of 2017.

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Everything I’ve Learnt in 2016 About Writing, Publishing, and Productivity

2016 has been one hell of a year. The Western political landscape is more up in the air than it has been in most our lifetimes. Neither the UK nor the US know what their futures hold, and the repercussions of recent events will be felt throughout Europe and across the globe.

But the political landscape isn’t the only thing that’s changed this year.

2016 was the year I published my first book. It was the year I pushed myself so hard I had a break down, and I didn’t realise what I’d done until I had no energy left to function. While I accomplished a lot in the first half of this year, I accomplished very little in the second because I just had no energy left to do anything else. Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race.

That being said, I am proud of what I accomplished this year, both personally and professionally. I’ve learnt a lot, and I can use those lessons to help me move forwards in 2017.

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Why Do You Write?

Working on Productivity for Writers recently has got me thinking about the reasons I write, and what I want to achieve with my writing. It’s also made me realise that the reasons why we write can affect how much we write, how often we write, and how we feel about what we write.

Take teenage me. I wrote because I wanted to write. I enjoyed it. The most successful projects were the ones my friends became attached to: the more they pestered me for new chapters, the faster I wrote.

On some occasions, that was enough. On others, it wasn’t. On those occasions where it wasn’t the self-doubt took over and I fobbed off my friends with excuses about why I couldn’t write because I had ‘writer’s block‘.

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How to be Productive When Your Health is Working Against You

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front lately. I miss talking to people and discussing writing and productivity, but the truth is I just don’t have the energy. I’ve been struggling on and off since the book launch, and the last few weeks it’s been really bad. I manage to get to work and somehow function there, but when I get home I’m ready for a nap. I try to soldier on, get some editing done, but progress is slow.

I don’t want to neglect the blog, but my fiction comes first.

So if I blog intermittently over the next few months I apologise. Once What Happens in London is out and my health is on the mend I’m hoping to be in a better place to tell you all how to be really productive no matter what, but in the meantime here’s how to write when your health is working against you…

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Why Boredom is a Luxury, and How to Overcome it

How often do you say ‘I’m bored’?

Daily?

Weekly?

Never?

I can’t remember the last time I was bored.

I used to say it a lot when I was a child. Almost every day. I had so much time I didn’t know what to do with it. I’d go and whinge to Mum and Nan until they found me something to do. It usually amounted to going out somewhere, plonking me in front of the TV, or putting a game on the PC for me to play.

Fast forward twenty years and I don’t have the time to be bored. What with a full-time job, long-term relationship, chores, commuting, writing books, writing poetry, writing blog posts, social media, marketing, graphic design, sewing, baking, cooking, reading and socialising, there’s just too much to do!

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How to Kick-Start Your Creativity, Whatever Your Mood

It doesn’t matter what our word count per day, we all hit creative roadblocks sometimes.

But you know what?

You can be more creative.

And you can write more.

Here’s how.

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