Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Streamline Your Writing Life with These 10 Tips

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

10 Tips to streamline your writing life.
So often we make things harder than they have to be. Sometimes we do it because we’re used to doing things a certain way, or because it’s the only way we know how. But things change quickly these days, and it’s always a good thing to take a look at your routine with a fresh eye. Today I’m going to share some tips to streamline your writing life. Some you may already do, some you may not have ever considered. Just take a look at the list with an open mind and see if there’s anything on it that can make your life easier.

Streamline Your Writing Life
1. Take a look at your goals. It’s important to have goals—and it’s important to have written goals. It’s easy to just float along, taking things as they come. But when we do that, it’s hard to make progress—and it’s even harder to evaluate progress. Beyond that, there’s something almost magical about writing down your goals. Having them recorded somewhere gives them weight and makes it easier to make them a priority.

2. Evaluate how much time you’re spending on social media. If it’s more than thirty minutes a day, it’s time to re-evaluate. After thirty minutes, your return on investment takes a severe nosedive in the downward direction.

Let go of your expectations—for yourself & others.
3. Let go of your expectations. No this isn’t  a contradiction of #1 above. There is a huge difference between goals and expectations. I bet if you’re honest with yourself you have quite a few expectations—from what you expect from yourself, to what you expect from others. For me, when I took a hard look, a lot of those expectations were totally unreasonable. So spend some time and take a hard look at your expectations. The ones that are reasonable, make into goals and priorities. The rest of them . . . well . . . just throw them away.

4. Determine when, in a 24-hour period, you are most creative. Some of us are night people, some are morning people, and some of us work best in the afternoon. But we each have a specific time when the words and ideas tend to flow easier. Look at your internal clock and figure out when that time is. Then, guard it like you’re guarding gold. Really that’s what you’re doing. Our income and dreams are locked up tight with our ability to create. When we figure out the time that work best for creative work, it’s like someone has handed us pure gold.

Come up with a way to schedule your time.
5. Come up with a way to schedule your time. I know not everyone can have a detailed schedule. But truthfully, if you’re trying to carve out time to write (and who isn’t?), you need to schedule that time. There are lots of methods to help with time management from an old fashioned spread sheet to the Pomodoro Technique. Do some research and find something that works for you.

6. Commit to quit talking negative to and about yourself. When someone bashes our ability and/or our manuscript, it takes time to recover. The same holds true when we do it to ourselves. So take a page from my author friend, Alton Gansky, and QUIT IT!

7. Take care of yourself physically. This means getting enough sleep, eating well, and especially exercising. The sedentary lifestyle of a writer can quickly take its toll on us physically and mentally. Sure these things take time—often time we don’t feel we can spare. But even though this may seem counterintuitive, it will streamline your writing life. You can accomplish so much more when you are physically healthy and mentally alert.

8. Build in regular breaks. Especially when I’m on a deadline, I’ve found that taking regular breaks greatly improves my productivity. A good friend and spiritual mentor of mine Kent Pate has a saying, “Divert daily, withdraw weekly, abandon annually.”

Surround yourself with encouraging writers.
9. Surround yourself with encouraging writers. You don’t just need encouraging friends, but also encouraging writers. We writers are an odd lot, and we need others around us who understand our thought process, our struggles and our quirky joys. These writers should be active and growing—not those who just talk about writing, but those who spend time writing.

10. Engage a prayer team. This may seem odd, especially if you’re fairly new to even calling yourself a writer, much less having something published. But the truth is, this life is hard. When we answer God’s call to step out and share His message, we’re going to encounter spiritual warfare. For that, you need people to pray for you. If you’re also building a ministry, trying to grow an income and/or beginning to speak, that’s even more of a reason to surround yourself with prayer. These folks don’t have to be writers, but they should have a connection to you.

These are just some of the things that do to help my writing life stay manageable. I’m sure there are lots of other things that would help as well. Be sure to chime in with your suggestions in the comments section below.  

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. An excellent post, Edie! Thank you! I especially would like to comment on Tip #10: Engage a Prayer Team. Several years ago, Holy Spirit led me to establish a Prayer Team for my writing ministry. He brought into my life faithful intercessors, some of whom are writers. Their faithful prayers for me over the years have seen me through many difficult challenges. They have provided encouragement and engaged in spiritual warfare for me. I am so thankful for them and so thankful you included this tip in your post.

    Blessings to you!


  2. Profound advice, Edie. Thanks. I would add to #1 that having written goals helps YOU SEE your progress. Part of our (my) discouragement comes from not seeing and acknowledging the progress made. Sometimes we do miss a goal or get behind on it for very good, understandable reasons. It's important to seize credit for that portion you DID accomplish. My writing society has a goal of 4 books per year. Last year we produced only 3. That was 3 more than we had ever produced before we became a group. So, we claimed our 3. We have already produced 5 this year, yet our goal was still 4. We are SO on track after all.

    Measure, see, and claim ALL progress.

  3. I appreciate your adding #10, Edie. Prayer is so important, and it's so encouraging when people are praying for your writing and ministry. Thanks for this post!

  4. Great advice! I was definitely nailed on not writing down my goals that float around in my head! And I just skimmed the Pomodoro page! Brilliant! Going back to that for details! Thanks for the advice and the encouragment!