7 Time-tested Writing Life Hacks
By Lori Hatcher
Every profession has tricks of the trade—those tips that when you hear them, you say, “I wish I’d known this years ago.” After more than a decade of professional writing, I’ve learned a few time-tested hacks that make my writing life easier. It’s my pleasure to share them with you today.
7 Time-tested Writing Life Hacks
- Keep an assortment of bios in a Word doc. Carefully craft short (25 words), not-as-short (50) words, not-short-at-all (100 words), and long (100+) bios, then tuck them in a Word document. Instead of writing a new one for each article, blog post, or submission, open your document and choose the length that fits the guidelines. Tweak it to fit the publication or audience.
- Silence notifications. You can’t concentrate if a cascade of chirps, chimes, and dings constantly interrupts you. Before you settle in for a serious writing session, silence the notifications on your computer and phone. Determine not to check them until you’ve completed your writing for the day.
- Use an automatic back up service. Forget the external drives that require you to manually back up your files. Trust me. You won’t do it, and sooner or later you’ll lose something valuable. A tsunami of coffee into your laptop or a hard drive failure can destroy a year’s worth of work in thirty seconds. I love Carbonite. It costs less than a trip to Starbucks each month and gives me incredible peace of mind.
- Invest in a standing desk. I discovered the value of this piece of office furniture during a busy season of writing. Long hours of sitting caused pain in my neck, shoulders, and hips. A portable standing desk allowed me to alternate between sitting and standing and alleviated much of my discomfort. Add a comfort mat for a win/win.
- Set a timer for an hour. When the timer rings,
stand up and move. Transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer or walk
outside and check the mail. Do a few deep knee bends or stretches. Taking
breaks from sitting refreshes our bodies and our minds.
- Treat Yourself to an Ember. If you write your best material while sipping on a hot mug of something delicious, add an Ember to your office. After you to select the perfect temperature for your coffee or tea, this spiffy (cordless) mug will keep your beverage hot for up to 1.5 hours, or all day if you keep it on the charger. It shuts off when empty and restarts when you refill it. It’s a splurge, but I’d consider it an investment if it helps you write better, faster, stronger.
- Use good, fine-point (0.5 mm) pens. I love pens that write smoothly and don’t smear. I’m convinced that if the ink in my pen flows smoothly, my words will, too. If it clogs, drags, or clumps, trust me. It isn’t pretty. I love a fine point because it allows me to edit legibly in the tiny spaces between lines. It’s perfect for making notes in the margins of my Bible and looks crisp and clean on everything. For years I made do with crummy pens, but no more. Each year I buy a new box. I always get black, but I also order a pretty color like purple (never red) for Word Weavers meetings or hard copy editing work. Retired educator and writer friend, Jeannie Waters, gave me my first Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pen, Fine Point, and I’ve never looked back.
The writing life, like any field, has a learning curve. Learning from others can help flatten the curve. I hope these seven tips will move you closer to enjoying an efficient and effective writing life.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite writing life hack? Share it in the comments so we can all benefit.
Lori Hatcher is an
author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career
dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our
Hearts, and Crosswalk.com. Lori’s latest devotional, Refresh Your Hope, 60 Devotions for Trusting God with All
Your Heart, released on
January 3. Connect with her at www.LoriHatcher.com or on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).