Every writer I know is already working harder than they ever thought possible. They sacrifice evenings and weekends with families to make their writing dreams come true. Since we can’t work faster, we need to work smarter. Try one of these writer hacks–or try them all. Either way, you will enjoy a boost to your work output.
Use soundtracks to fuel your creativity.
(I’ve talked about this before.) Lots of writers create playlists for working on their novels, but I love soundtracks. Movie scores are expressly created by professional musicians to invoke a mood. There are years of research and experience behind these scores. Why not use all that science to spark your own writing? Since I’m in a gothic phase, it’s all about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for me, but in the past I’ve used The Mummy and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and many others. Pick your favorite movies as inspiration, or find one that invokes the right mood for your project and get your grove on.
Get a monitor with the portrait display feature. Even better, get two.
Yes, I know everyone is on laptops these days, but not me! I own a laptop for when I want to hit the road, but I will never give up my colossal Dell monitor with portrait mode or my full-sized keyboard. Both items are not that expensive and make a writer’s life so much easier. Portrait mode lets you see at least a full page of text on one screen, even at the 100% setting. Seeing huge chunks of text means you will catch more mistakes. The repetitive word uses jump out at you. You’ll see that 30% of your sentences all start the same way. We’re all in the habit of using landscape, but writing is one activity where a quarter turn make a world of difference.
Get a standing desk.
This one is easy for those working on laptops, just stand at a kitchen breakfast bar. Or buy yourself a nice patio bar and enjoy some fresh air while you work. According to the Harvard Medical School Review: Too many writers are risking their health by sitting all day. I have my desk set up with double monitors and keyboard tray so I can stand or sit depending on my mood. But I have my eye on a treadmill desk, that way I could walk my way to better heath and better writing. Increased circulation also boosts mental acuity and memory. Take a stand, writers. It’s good for you.
[important] Standing also burns 30% more calories. [/important]
Use a split screen viewing feature.
This is a trick I learned years ago from my editor and it’s brilliant! Rotate your monitor back to landscape (don’t worry, it’s easy to change back) and configure your screen to show two files side by side. This feature works great for just about any type of revision work. It lets you compare two different documents, or two different versions of the same document. It’s perfect for comparing the feedback of two beta readers. Or you can put up the example of a successful query letter (there are tons of examples online) and compare it side by side with your own query letter. Comparing an old draft against your latest draft helps you track your changes and prove to yourself you really are making progress.