As a writer, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that you must choose between reading and penning your words. Because, after all, time spent reading is time not spent writing, and vice versa.
John knows the importance of reading in a writing career. But he loses himself in articles, books, and online information when a client commissions content from him.
When it comes to the writing itself, the blank page stares back at him, and anxiety surrounds him like ivy. He cannot type a word. He leaves the room, plays with his dog Barky, gets coffee, and returns because he has suddenly found a small bout of energy. He writes a few words, looks at his research, and keeps going, but he still needs more information.
More reading can be a way of procrastinating. Limit the amount of time you spend on it. Outlining the content can help you fill in the gaps. Thus, you can tell when you are scared of finishing the piece.
So what’s the plan?
- Instead of reading aimlessly, set specific goals for what you want to accomplish with your reading.
- Let’s say you have a blog post you need to research. Set aside a specific time for that and stick to it. Go back to reading only to gain knowledge about that particular piece.
- Don’t apply for jobs or read the latest guru’s advice on multiplying your Twitter followers. Reading about how to make money online for the hundredth time is off-limits. Save the article for another day and link the URL to your calendar.
- Send your phone to the guest room. Close your email and focus. Once your research and reading are over, get on the horse and start riding.
- My calendar has blocked time for reading, writing, researching, checking email, sharpening my skills, etc. I plan my week according to what I will write or read about on a given day.
- The first thing I do is engage in social media. The next thing is writing. I divided my writing time into two blocks of two hours each day.
- I look for clients by pitching or applying on job boards twice a week.
- I read for an hour and a half on Tuesdays and Wednesdays before midday. Every Sunday, I plan my social media calendar.
- I link my activities (the URL of the Google Doc or lesson) to the calendar event, and every time the calendar reminds me it’s time to read, I click the link and have what I need to read, write, or research in front of me. If it’s time to read, then the connection is there.
Don’t let the social media vortex gobble you up. Plan your visits. Don’t stay up, tweeting until 2:00 a.m. I now only knock on those doors twice a day.
Having a plan will help you stay accountable because you’ll be closer to knowing where your time goes. This system is not perfect, but it’s better than no system. You have to find one that works for you.
One response to “How to Develop a Strong Reading-Writing Connection for Long-Term Success”
Great advice for writers on how to balance reading and writing while being more productive with their time. Planning the day and setting specific goals is the key to success in this regard.
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