Systems are the functional cycles of activity, repeated habits, and procedures we put into place to make our lives easier and better. In a company, systems produce policies, manuals, standardized work checklists, and the like. At home, they can be things like having your gym bag packed the night before and setting your alarm to go and work out at the same time every morning, bagging lunch snacks into individual portions during TV time so that packing lunches is a breeze in the morning, or as simple as keeping the keys on the front foyer table so you are not looking for them when it’s time to go out the door.
By doing personal inventory, you will quickly identify the systems you already have in place and by thinking of what went well and what didn’t in the past week, you can identify where more or different systems are needed in your life.
In your writing life, the same principle applies. Here are 5 ways to make systems a part of your writing life and achieve greater results in less time:
1.Write every day.
It doesn’t matter if it’s only ten minutes. Over a week’s time you will have invested more than 1 hour of your craft. This can quickly add up to freelance writing material, blog content, or that book you’ve been meaning to write.
2. Get back on the horse.
Not hitting every goal or intention is part of being a human being living life. What ever gets done is more than would have if you never set a goal or intention in the first place. Learn from what derailed you and set a system in place to get around it next time. If you are setting too lofty of goals and are missing them more often than not, set small ones that you can easily hit consistently and work up from there. (x amount of words or x minutes per session are both effective)
3. Have a filing system.
No writing session will ever be wasted with a filing system. If you write something you are not particularly proud of or it seems off topic to your current project, simply file it for another day. Months down the road, you may see where to invest new life into it or what edits are needed or what market it may serve.
4. Keep writing prompts nearby.
Even if you don’t use them every session, nothing cuts into your writing time like looking at a blank screen. If you are not working on a specific project (and even then, decide what scene or subheading you are working on before you start your timer) pull out a writing prompt to get the words flowing.
5. Connect with other writers.
Whether it is a formal group or a friend who you meet with to discuss your writing journey, having someone else to be accountable to really make a difference. Set deadlines to have work ready to share. You can use the same accountability system to ready manuscripts for submission, save to attend a writer’s conference, or swap blog guest posts. Benefit from the systems built into community.
If you want more information on systems, writing prompts, or other writing related processes, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the free newsletter mailing list.