Every writer has been there. Staring at the screen, unable to understand the words they’ve just written. After hours of staring at black text on a bright page, you find yourself re-reading your work with eyes that can’t see it. All that typing has left your brain soggy – you’re missing simple typos and forgotten what you wanted to say in the first place. You’ll make yourself another coffee, and try to read your work again, but it’s useless. You know something’s not right but you can’t see what it is.
Don’t despair. These tips and tricks will keep you sane after a day of frantic typing and have you pressing save and send with confidence.
- Don’t have another coffee
Coffee is an amazing tool for productivity, but can be an occupational hazard when writers use it with reckless abandon. Another cuppa always seems like the answer in the afternoon when your motivation has taken a turn for the worse, but in fact the added caffeine (especially when you’ve already had one or two already) is actually more likely to leave you with heightened anxiety levels that will actually cloud your judgement. Have a tea instead, or even better – a nice cold glass of water.
- Go outside
Writers like to lock themselves away, but a trip outdoors can do wonders for your productivity. Although every urge is telling you to keep writing – sometimes you just need to get up and go. Print out your work and go for a walk to a local park, where you can sit and edit with a pen. The break from the technology will be welcome and the fresh air will clear your head. As a bonus, the sunshine on your face will give you some well-needed vitamin D – and perhaps some colour in your cheeks.
- Check your social media
Yes, really. Taking a social media break in the workday is OK, as long as you can use your time efficiently. Spending 10 minutes or so replying to a message from a friend, or scrolling through your twitter feed can enhance your mood and re-invigorate you to have another go at your project. Even better, use this time to work on your company social media page, or to schedule some posts for the week and feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Show it to someone else
Sending an unpolished piece of work to someone can be a nightmare for perfectionists. However, a fresh pair of eyes can shortcut the next round of edits – and that’s why we always read each other’s work at Writers. You can decide to take or leave the feedback, but regardless – you’ll have an idea of what’s working for the reader and what isn’t.
Ok, this one might not be possible with your deadline – but if so, try to have a sleep and come back to your writing the next day. You’re guaranteed to see things in your work that seemingly weren’t there before, and you’ll be left wondering how you missed such simple clues in the first place.