Thursday, October 12, 2017

10 Tips to Simplify Your Writing Life

Take a look at your routine with fresh eyes.
by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

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.

10 Tips to Simplify 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.

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.

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.”

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. Sound advice. Number six crunched my toes.
    Your encouragements has me hobbling on.
    Teach on!

  2. As a mom of a toddler and an infant, I have been so blessed reading Joanna Davidson Politano's philosophy on writing time. Her first novel just debuted, so I've been seeing her interviews and blogs. She's also a mom of two littles. My takeaway is this: Commit your day to the Lord. Spend real, quality time with Him first and foremost. Love your babies and take care of your family without fear or stress. Writing time will come, maybe not every day, but it'll come. And when it does happen, trust that God will maximize your time and quality words will flow. Some days I only get enough minutes to spend time with the Lord. But if I used that time to write instead, what good are my words? What good is my message if I'm not plugged into my Source? My writing life is simplified by honoring and staying connected to the One who called me to write, even if that means some days I don't get time to write.

    1. Beth, that's wonderful! Thank you for sharing, Blessings, E

  3. Wonderful thoughts Ms. Edie; thanks for sharing. Keep "smelling those roses" and remember that we can never have enough prayer!

  4. Solid advice, Edie. For me, #9 was the difference in my path. And you second sentence hit me hard. I've never hear it put like that before - and it's OH, SO TRUE! Especially the part about our quirky joys. I would add "and respect" after "understand" in your powerful second sentence. Sometimes our closest friends and family don't quite "get" that part or it's relevance to us. Part of my journey was finding a few who do understand, respect, AND write. I can only add that they don't have to be nearby. One of mine is, of course, at home, one in London, one in TN, one in NC, and one in SC 45 minutes away. And the internet, like God's love, is there 24/7.

    1. Edie, as you can see from this post, I still have no clue how to post on your blog. It used to show my name, but with my new computer it doesn't. Jay Wright, Anderson, SC

    2. Jay, all good stuff! thank you for stopping by, Blessings, E

  5. Love this list! Number 3 for me. Out of my life.
    I also need #9.
    Great post, Edie!

  6. So encouraging. Thank you!