Some people like working alone. Some people like working late at night. And if you’re a dwarf, you like to whistle while you work.
Forgive me for getting that tune stuck in your head.
But it’s true. We are all different. Some of you are introverts, some of your are extroverts. Some of your are planners, some of you pantsers. Some of you are dragon lovers, and none of you are dinosaurs lovers (but I forgive you). Each person learns differently and reacts different, so we shouldn’t expect one tip to work for us just because it works for someone else.
In fact, depending on the hack, it could even hamper your productivity.
That’s why you need to learn about yourself to know what will (and won’t) work. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to help you determine how you can best utilize your preferences to be the most productive.
3 Questions to Discover Your Working Style
• How Do You Learn? Learning isn’t always one size fits all. Undoubtedly, certain methods are unquestionably successful, like writing “tyrannosaurus” a hundred times is obviously going to help you remember how to spell it. But other things are left up to each individual. Do you crave any and all knowledge, or do you prefer to learn simply what you’re interested in? Do you work better alone or in a group? Do you tune out noises or do you find them irritating? For Mariposa, she’s learns by best observing. For several years most of her knowledge in writing came from reading or watching movies and noticing the beats of the plot. She did the same with her art. She studied pictures and tried to replicate the lighting and shapes. If someone had shown her how to draw or paint, that would’ve stunted her creativity and kept her from exploring new possibilities. Think about your childhood and your school years, and try to pinpoint methods that worked for you then. Is there anyway you can incorporate those while you write?
• How Do You Interact with the World? When you’re in a group of people, how do you respond? How do you react when you’re under stress? What is the first thing you do when something amazing happens? These scenarios may seem inconsequential to your writing life, but understanding your reactions and the emotions behind them can help you find your productive sweet spot. For example, someone who enjoys chatting with people might work well collaborating. They could talk with a friend about their plot holes and such, bouncing ideas off each other. Or someone who freezes up with anxiety might work best without deadlines and in a calming atmosphere. Or someone who celebrates milestones by going to Starbucks, will probably work best when caffeinated.
• How Do You Have Fun? Do you prefer wild theme parks or scenic cross-country trips? Do you prefer coffee or tea? Do you prefer reading fantasy or contemporary? The number one way to be productive while you write is for it not to seem like work. Sometimes you won’t be able to help it (writing is hard), but if you can, make every effort to enjoy yourself. Think of all the things that make you smile and fill your desk with things that remind you of them. Do something you find inspiring before you sit down at that keyboard. If you’re musically inclined, hum while your beating the keys (and even if you sing terribly, do it anyway if it makes you happy*).
Finding Your Work Zone
You are a unique individual. No one writes like you, or even the way you do. Don’t be afraid to do what’s best for you, even if it’s not for everyone else. Not everyone can write with a dinosaur assistant. That’s fine. There’s always dragon assistants, humanoid assistants, hobbit assistants, wolf assistants…
*You are not liable for any of your family members’ yelling at you to stop.