If you’re like me, you struggle to accomplish everything on your to-do list. Between my list, social media (Twitter and Instagram are huge time-sucks for me), the book I want to read, and just general procrastination, it can be tough some days to feel like I’ve done anything. And when I do try really hard to focus on my assortment of tasks, I often find that I’m bouncing around from one thing to another to another and never really finishing anything.
But I’ve found a tip that has really helped me with my writing.
It’s so simple, I’m amazing I hadn’t thought of it before.
The tip: Do a bunch of similar tasks back to back before moving on to something else. It’s called “batching your tasks”.
For me, this has revolutionized my blogging and article writing. I used to try to do one complete post or article at a time. Research, drafting, editing, adding links, sourcing or creating images – the whole sha-bang. And I would get so frustrated because it felt like I could never get in the groove, I could never feel like I was caught up on things. Sure, I had a post scheduled to go live on my blog, but that’s it. One post. And I had nothing started for the next day or week of posts.
And then I stumbled across this method of batching things (I really wish I could remember where so I could source it for you…if I remember, I will definitely update this post). I figured, it doesn’t hurt to try and so I did. And it helped. So. Much. I feel like I can get so much more done.
So what does my blogging process look like now?
- Jot down a long list of blog post ideas.
- Draft a bunch of posts (That is: write, write, write.) in Word.
- Add those posts into my blogging platform (I use WordPress) and edit them. (I usually try to do two to four at a time.)
- Add links to all the new blog posts.
- Create images for all the new blog posts.
- Schedule all the new posts for publishing.
This way, instead of constantly having to flip back and forth between writing this post, making images, then writing that post, then back to making images, then back to writing, then back to images and on and on and on (See what I mean? It’s frustrating.), I can focus my brain and get in the groove. Do you know how much faster sourcing/editing images is for me now? I can whip up images for four blog posts in the amount of time it used to take me to do one or two when I hadn’t been in Photoshop in a few days.
Related post: The Seven Sentence Short Story
So how would this work in your fiction writing?
If you’re writing fiction, batching tasks can be quite helpful. (I’m working on some ideas for my own fiction writing and plan on using this tip in that too. Here’s what I think might work.)
Batch Writing Tasks by Character POV
Rather than trying to write the whole novel in chronological order and having to flip between point of views or characters as the story goes, try writing a selection of scenes from one character’s point of view on one day and then doing a different character on another day. It will be much easier to immerse yourself deeply into a character’s point of view if you’re not having to jump around from one character to another.
Batch Writing Tasks by Setting
Do you have scenes set in specific settings? Write all the scenes you plan to have in a specific space before writing scenes in other settings. It will help you stay familiar with the space and hopefully save you editing time later when you inadvertently move the door or change the location of the hidden path.
Batch Writing Tasks by Tone
Does your story have sections that are distinct tones? Maybe you have some fast-paced battle scenes and some steamy sex scenes and some comedic scenes. Try drafting all of your battle scenes back to back, all of your sex scenes back to back, or all of your comedic moments back to back. This will help you keep a consistent tone in those scenes and, since you’re writing them so close together, may help you ensure they don’t start to get repetitive but remain distinct from each other.
A caveat to the above suggestions: you do have to have an outline or be a story planner rather than a pantser to batch your writing like this.
Have you tried batching your tasks? How has it worked for you?