Is this a common issue among people new to writing?(details inside) Do It Now by Steve Pavlina When going to college many years ago, I decided to challenge myself by setting a goal to see if I could graduate in only three semesters, taking the same classes that people would normally take over a four-year period. This article explains in detail all the time management techniques I used to successfully pull this off. In order to accomplish this goal, I determined I'd have to take 30-40 units per semester, when the average student took 12-15 units. It became immediately obvious that I'd have to manage my time extremely well if I wanted to pull this off. I began reading everything I could find on time management and putting what I learned into practice. I accomplished my goal by graduating with two Bachelor of Science degrees (computer science and mathematics) in just three semesters without attending summer school. I wasn't considered a gifted child, and this was the first time I had ever done anything like this. Clarity is key. The first step is to know exactly what you want. W.
NaNoWriMo NaNoWriMo 2012 progress forms More on writing: (Articles Index) I'm currently putting together a how-to book containing updated and revised editions of all my articles on writing and publishing, plus a lot of new material. If you'd like to know more, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter Every November, thousands of writers sign up for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). (If you do sign up for NaNoWriMo, my profile is here) I'm the programmer behind yWriter5 (for Windows), but for Mac there's always the excellent Scrivener: My new middle-grade scifi novel was written during Nano 2010. Now, despite all those winning efforts I'm pretty bad when it comes to getting on with things: I procrastinate until just before the deadline, then go mad at the last minute to hand them in on time. It's simple enough - one line for each day of the month, with a daily count of 1700 words and a running total. The spreadsheets are editable, so you can change the word count and the starting date.
Your Personal Accountability System A difficult challenge in achieving goals is simply remaining aware of them and staying on track. How many times have you set a goal, started working on it with the best of intentions, and then at some future time, you realize it somehow slipped through the cracks? External influences exert forces to knock us off track. And if you have a busy life, these influences can come many times each day. We therefore must exert a countering force to get back on track, pointing ourselves back towards our goals again and again. For 2005 I have 14 written goals. But those secondary goals are so tempting to work on first. So how I do to stay focused on my primary goals, despite so many pressures to work on other things? First, this helps me because I always keep this binder on my desk, and I open it and look through it every day, usually many times per day. Secondly, I break my projects list and my next actions list into two parts: primary and secondary. Systems trump intentions.
jimbutcher: The Great Swampy Middle Every writer runs into this, generally in every single book. The middle. It lurks between the beginning of your book and the exciting conclusion, and its mission in life is to Atreyu you right down into the yucky, mucky mire in order to prevent you from ever actually finishing. The Great Swampy Middle (or GSM) knows no fear, no mercy, no regret. And it laughs at you. The smug bastard. Okay. The middle of books is HARD, especially for beginning writers. It's like a swamp. Man. It's when an author starts getting lost that the book's middle becomes the Great Swampy Middle. Those of you who have written this much of a book already know exactly what I'm talking about. News flash: the reader is going to get that, and it's going to kill their fun. But most won't have that kind of patience. (That's bad.) But I say unto you, fear not. Here we go: The problem with GSMs is that most writers don't have a very good idea of exactly where they want to go. Same thing applies in the story. There. Jim
33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Heuristics are rules intended to help you solve problems. When a problem is large or complex, and the optimal solution is unclear, applying a heuristic allows you to begin making progress towards a solution even though you can’t visualize the entire path from your starting point. Suppose your goal is to climb to the peak of a mountain, but there’s no trail to follow. An example of a heuristic would be: Head directly towards the peak until you reach an obstacle you can’t cross. Whenever you reach such an obstacle, follow it around to the right until you’re able to head towards the peak once again. This isn’t the most intelligent or comprehensive heuristic, but in many cases it will work just fine, and you’ll eventually reach the peak. Heuristics don’t guarantee you’ll find the optimal solution, nor do they generally guarantee a solution at all. Heuristics have many practical applications, and one of my favorite areas of application is personal productivity. Nuke it! Site Build It!
8 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Concentrating “Music helps me concentrate,” Mike said to me glancing briefly over his shoulder. Mike was in his room writing a paper for his U.S. History class. On his desk next to his computer sat crunched Red Bulls, empty Gatorade bottles, some extra pocket change and scattered pieces of paper. Mike made a shift about every thirty seconds between all of the above. Do you know a person like this? The Science Behind Concentration In the above account, Mike’s obviously stuck in a routine that many of us may have found ourselves in, yet in the moment we feel it’s almost an impossible routine to get out of. When we constantly multitask to get things done, we’re not multitasking, we’re rapidly shifting our attention. Phase 1: Blood Rush Alert When Mike decides to start writing his History essay, blood rushes to his anterior prefrontal cortex. Phase 2: Find and Execute Phase 3: Disengagement While in this state, Mike then hears an email notification. The process repeats itself sequentially. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Self-Discipline: Willpower The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. - Vince Lombardi Willpower — such a dirty word these days. How many commercials have you seen that attempt to position their products as a substitute for willpower? But guess what… willpower does work. What Is Willpower? Willpower is your ability to set a course of action and say, “Engage!” Willpower provides an intensely powerful yet temporary boost. Willpower is the spearhead of self-discipline. Willpower is a concentration of force. The application of willpower includes the following steps: Choose your objectiveCreate a plan of attackExecute the plan With willpower you may take your time implementing steps 1 and 2, but when you get to step 3, you’ve got to hit it hard and fast. Don’t try to tackle your problems and challenges in such a way that a high level of willpower is required every day. Use Willpower to Create Self-Sustaining Momentum An Example
» Seven Productivity Tips For People That Hate GTD Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead. Not everone gets GTD (Getting Things Done). I know I didn’t. It made my head spin. I have nothing against the system or David Allen. When it comes to GTD and other systems, it’s often too easy to get into a habit of over-engineering your system. Plus, there’s a big gap in resources on productivity that doesn’t involve complex jargons and elaborate diagrams (see the GTD matrix). Here are seven of the best, simple, and sometimes seemingly upside down tips for being more prolific. Create a “to stop” list. Complex productivity systems aren’t for everyone, and they don’t need to be. Also, I should note a couple of people out there, such as Charlie Gilkey and Mark McGuinness, who are working hard to change the lack of productivity material related to creatives.
How to Achieve Your Goals Faster I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.– Zig Ziglar Whether your goal is to start a company, meet an amazing guy or girl, or travel the world in a hot air balloon, there are few among us who wouldn’t want to get there more quickly. A powerful tool for speeding up your progress towards any goal is constraints. A constraint is a rule, restriction, or boundary within which you must operate to achieve a goal. Sometimes constraints are forced upon you. Constraints Get You Moving Without constraints, 30 sleeps would probably not exist. Over the last several years, I’ve spent a lot of time “thinking about” doing things. As often happens in these situations, I finally sunk so low that I knew I’d have to change my approach if the Yet Another Idea I had–the idea for 30 sleeps–was going to become a reality. I did this in two ways.