I work best after a chai tea latte from Caribou. My husband, on the other hand, works best after winning the Super Bowl in Madden (a video game for all the non-gamers out there). Long story short, we all work differently and have different methods for being productive.
Here are four tips for curbing your content writer’s block. These tips are quite universal when it comes to developing content and being (and staying!) productive.
Know your audience
Try to analyze the market, get big ideas, structure your strategy and then plan out. My husband and I are doing that right now as we prepare to drive to New York with our 9-month-old son. Our “market” is a baby, so that means a predictable schedule with a fairly low attention span. We’re looking at the big picture – what states we’ll drive through, what time we’ll arrive at certain destinations and what our ETA to New York will be. Then we’re able to break it down to a more defined schedule – like when and where we’ll stop to eat lunch and dinner.
The same holds true for business. Start with a broad plan. Look at the big picture – all the while having your big goal in mind. Then, break it down into little goals…or benchmarks. For example, our goal is to make it to Fort Wayne, Ind., the first night. Breaking a large vision into smaller pieces can make the whole process easier.
Be creative – content is everywhere
When coming up with content, let your mind wander. It’s perfectly okay to daydream! Keep a notebook in your purse to jot down ideas when you’re on-the-go. Try free-writing for 10 minutes each day. Just set an alarm and write (and try not to self-edit). Need some help getting started? Check out these 25 creative writing prompt tips.
Back to our road trip. While we could try to make the 20-hour drive with no baby toys, that would make for a long day. Doable? Probably. Smart? Nope. The same holds true for managing and creating content. There are great tools out there to make this process easier. MindJet’s MindManager uses interactive tools to show details in a clear format. It validates priorities, gets buy-in on goals and maps out timelines. Programs like MindManager can help you schedule, delegate and track your progress using the same mind map you use to plan your project.
Another tool is Scrivener, which puts everything you need for structuring, writing and editing long documents at your fingertips. Kind of like an electronic index card system.
Develop healthy habits
Roger C. Parker, a life coach and author, suggests scheduling writing time into each day. “The key habit in sustainable writing success involves short, daily, scheduled writing sessions. Schedule 30 to 45 minutes a day, turn off phones and Twitter, and watch your ideas take shape.”
Take breaks! Your brain tires quickly, so productivity drops during long writing (or working) sessions. Try incorporating short breaks into your writing or daily routine. The change of scenery or few minutes of light activity will refresh you and keep your writing fresh.
If you work great in the morning, take advantage of that time. If you’re a night-owl, resist the urge to check Facebook and instead, write or get your work done. Try to find the times of the day when you are most productive – play to your personal strengths.
Feel free to share your methods for developing content and staying productive. I’m off to grab my chai and then pack for our road trip!