Tips From a Writer’s Conference; Can they be applied to your life, too?

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This past weekend, I went to a mini-conference for writers. There were 6 sessions, of which I could choose three. I chose:

  • Stress and Time Management for Writers
  • Facebook Launch Parties
  • Self-editing your Manuscript

Today, I’m only going to talk about the first one because that is the one I needed the most. I mostly went to the Facebook one for some tips for my upcoming party and the editing one was helpful, but the tips in that one, I’ll share on a later date.

Stress and Time Management. Who doesn’t need that, right? Or maybe you are the one person in the world who has everything together with no stress and no problems getting everything done in your day. If you are, send me an email. I’d love to know how you do it.

Ben Wolf was the speaker who shared his thoughts on stress and time management for writers. He was clear, concise, informative, and funny. Without further ado, here are his tips. As he did for the conference, I will also apply it to writing, but you can probably apply it to whatever it is you do.

The Unstress Progression

Ben started with what he called “The Unstress Progression.” In order to get to a place of productivity, there is a progression you need to go through.

  • Stressed
  • Equilibrium
  • Productive
  • Ultra-Productive
  • Accomplished
  • Relaxed

From there, we go to the…

10 steps to superior stress and time management

One quick note first: You do not always need to do each of these steps. Do what is right for you and your stress levels.

#1. Freak Out (Stressed > Equilibrium)

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Yes, you read that right. One way to help de-stress is let out a scream, do something physical, take a deep breath (or more), or whatever works best for you to let off some steam.

#2. Take a Breath (Stressed > Equilibrium)

This one is easy. Take a deep breath and let it out.

#3. Pray (Stressed > Equilibrium)

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Yes, he really did say this. It was really refreshing to hear. God can help you calm down, stop stressing, and straighten you out.

#4. Prioritize (Equilibrium > Productive)

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Get all of your ducks in a row. Make your list of things that need done and prioritize them.

#5. Medicate (Equilibrium > Productive)

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Before you click out of this blog post, just read for a minute. This doesn’t mean get the alcohol or drugs. This means to grab your snack, water, chocolate, or whatever you like to get your energy from.

#6. Get Comfy (Equilibrium > Productive)

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  • Pick a spot (or more) where you are comfortable doing your writing.
  • Do what works for you.
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Make scheduled writing time, let your family know that time, and enforce the time.

#7. Jump into it (Equilibrium > Productive)

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Go do some writing!!!!

#8. Turn Stress into Fuel (Productive > Ultra-Productive)

There are two ways to do this depending on your personality:

  1. Let a little bit of the stress in to motivate you do do your writing and get it done.
  2. Block all the stress out so it doesn’t distract you from what you need to do.

Everyone can then follow these two tips:

  • Use the last 5-10 minutes to quickly outline what happens next in the story
  • Make a weekly or monthly word count goal. Daily goals are okay, but if you ever miss a day, it can cause more stress whereas a weekly or monthly word count goal would lessen that.

#9. Finish Strong (Ultra-Productive > Accomplished)

  • Briefly plan out what to write next.
  • If you are close to a big number, finish that (i.e. you’ve written 4,997 words, so write 3 more to reach 5,000).

#10. Make a Break for it (Accomplished > Relaxed)

Take and schedule a time to relax.

Other Tips

  • Optional Step 0: Delegate. If someone else can do it, let them do it.
  • When all else fails, cut something out.

My Favorite Tip: Do the writing first before anything else gets done. If you have something you have to do, do the writing first because you know you will get that other stuff done.

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Happy Writing!

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7 thoughts on “Tips From a Writer’s Conference; Can they be applied to your life, too?

  1. Onisha Ellis says:

    It’s odd, but the busier I am, the more efficiently I use my time. Good tips here.

  2. Claire B. says:

    Love this! Great tips. Especially as I’ve not been great with time management lately between writing and “studying”. ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Interesting tips to read! I have in the past found that writing my “things to do this month” on a small ring-binder helps me differentiate between stress I should feel and stress that has ZERO Reason. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Looking at what I actually need to do shows me what is left, but also what has been taken care of, and helps return some balance to the equation.

    Right now my biggest source of stress is beyond my ability to change it… and I just have to wait on others and their situations, and so trusting in the Lord has to play a big part in that!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy writing!!!

  4. […] management for writers. As part of the talk, the speaker gave us 10 steps which you can read about here. One of the steps was to prioritize. Make a list of the things you need to do in the order they […]

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