Welcome to Notes from the Backpack! This is the weekly post from Luxury Backpack where I offer a slice of a british writer and travel bloggers life in the Florida Keys. Want to know about my current adventures, what I’ve been reading, and a few anecdotes from my life in the Florida Keys? You are in the right place!
WOW – the heat is on! After a couple of cooler days in the Keys, with some pretty miserable rainy ones thrown in there, I really forgot about that humidity until it came back in full force!
I really think April is the perfect time to visit the Florida Keys. There are hardly any tourists around – we pretty much had the beach to ourselves, and the weather is gorgeous. Hot, yes, but not even anywhere near summertime, when the humidity is outrageous!
I finally got around to writing a post all about Marathon this week. In case you don’t know, Marathon is in the middle of the Florida Keys, and is a really great place to base your trip to the Keys. Read the post here. I also wrote a complete 2 week Florida Keys itinerary which you can check out here. Yes, I’ve been a busy bee on the blog this week!
As always, I’ve also been working on my novel (I feel like I write that sentence far too much – when is it going to be done, already?) and I have been trying hard to be productive with my writing time. This week’s post therefore is centred around my top writing productivity tips, for when you’ve just got to get stuff done!
What I’ve Been Reading This Week
At the end of last year I read Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and really loved it, so when I saw a recommendation of one of Sittenfeld’s other books by blogger Covering the Bases, I was eager to read it! American Wife is the story of an American first lady, based loosely on the life of Laura Bush. It is a beautiful account, from her early years though meeting the future president, and so far I am loving it.
Would I recommend it? Yes!
What I’ve Loved Online This Week
- This post is a shocking account of BAD customer service from Expedia, costing the writer nearly $9,000!
- This is SO AMAZING! This artist creates huge wooden characters and hides them in woods in Copenhagen.
- My favourite blog post this week was about one girls cycle from Portland to San Francisco. Definitely one for the USA bucket list!
- Erm, this London hostel sounds INSANE! Would you ever sleep in a prison cell!?
- If you want to seriously swoon over both destinations and dresses, check out one of my favourite style bloggers, Gal Meets Glam’s travel post showing just that: her fabulous style in lust-worthy destinations!
- And lastly, I think I have found the most scrumptious beauty products in the world. Take a look at these beautiful skincare treats from Hawaiian brand Mahalo.
This Week’s Story – Top 6 Productivity Tips For Writers
I struggle big time with concentration. Oh look, I’m on Facebook again. Seriously it is a problem. Whether I am writing a blog post, or re-drafting my novel, sticking to it and not losing focus is hard.
I find blogging easier, mainly because I use subtitles and can skip-up and down to my hearts content, but when it comes to a lengthy piece of writing this is where I have trouble. I know that I am not alone here. Most writers I speak to have the same problems. But over time, and many unproductive days, I have come up with certain tips and tricks which work for me.
Struggling with productivity? Read on!
Tip #6 – Facebook saps creativity.
Seriously, every time you open Facebook you are losing your creative mojo by the bucket load. Save scrolling your feed for actual break time, when you are away from your work. Taking a ‘Facebook break’ isn’t going to work. The amount of information you take in just by opening Facebook is insane, and most of it isn’t inspiring in the least. Trust me on this one, Facebook is NOT a creative’s friend.
Tip #5 – Clear your space – both literally and metaphorically
If you work at the kitchen table and there is a pile of dishes in the sink, its going to be hard for you to concentrate. The same goes for your mind. Got bills overdue or a call to make? Make sure you do these things before you sit down to write. That way your headspace is completely clear. You might think you can write anywhere and under any circumstances, but you will probably find your productivity level rises without any unnecessary distractions.
Tip #4 – Bring someone else into the mix
If you are setting yourself deadlines, but you are the only one tracking these deadlines, you probably will let yourself off lightly if you don’t finish. Set yourself a target by actually having someone expecting a draft or a live published post on a certain day. Contact a friend and ask them if they can read something over for you on Friday. Or announce on Social Media that your blog post about your recent vacation will be going live at 2pm! That way, you HAVE to meet your deadlines.
Tip #3 – Your timer is your best friend
I use my phone timer for everything. Laundry, cooking, even writing. If you struggle with keeping focus, set yourself small time goals. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and don’t do anything but write until it goes off. You’ll be surprised how much you get done. (I also find a small chocolate reward at this point helps!)
Tip #2 – Treat writing like any normal day job
Don’t just block out ‘write’ for a day in your diary. Plan actual writing times, such as 10am-midday, and then 1pm-3pm. By giving yourself actual lunch breaks and dedicated writing times, you will be surprised how much time you save. There won’t be the two hour sofa break because you started watching something on TV whilst eating a sandwich, because you have work to get back to. Treat it like any normal job, and your writing will benefit because of it.
Tip #1 – Don’t face a blank page
The blank page can feel really daunting and will most likely leave you unsure as where to dive in. I suggest breaking the page up into subheadings, chapters, or points straight away. This will make a new page feel more manageable. You will probably find that you will write more, which means your time is much more productive. Like a blank canvas, it might hold a whole world of possibilities, but productivity wise, it isn’t good (you’ve seen how many years those masters took to paint their masterpieces!).
Please note that after this post the weekly series Notes from the Backpack will become a monthly post. This is so I can pack it full of exciting stuff for you, and use it as a way of showing you what I have been up to each month. Stay tuned for May’s post, which I am so excited for as there is some BIG NEWS coming your way!
I hope my writing tips help any writers amongst you! Share your top productivity tips for writing below, I’d love to hear them!