With the Corona lock-down, in most Countries, and In Kenya things being on a go-slow.  I know many of you have been taken out of your routines and are now finding yourselves with so much time in your hands, or so you think. To avoid having Corona lock -down over, and you wondering what you achieved from this, I have a few tips to guide you to stay productive.

I have been working from home on most days, since 2007, except for the occasional TV show brainstorms, meetings and the once in a while popping in on filming sets, before going back to my lone desk at home. And I have been super productive in not only beating paid work deadlines, but on working on my passion projects. So today I share some of the tips I’ve applied to help me get things done from home, hopefully if you follow some of these, by the time the lock down is done, you’ll have a script,  a story idea fleshed out,  A TV series mapped out or whatever else you hope to achieve.

  1. Create a Routine: This is the number one tip to productivity, it’s been talked about a lot and many people take it too lightly, those who take it seriously often end up succeeding in meeting their daily goals. If you are working from home for the first time, you need a routine or time will just fly out the window. So identify and plan your day out, what will you do when you wake up, when will you sit down to work, when will your break be, lunch break and when do you end the days’ work.  This will vary for those with kids and those without. If you have young kids like me, you might want to wake up earlier so that you get some serious work done before the kids wake up and you have to attend to them.
  2. Schedule in your days target: It’s one thing to have a routine and show up at your workstation, it’s another thing hitting the targets.  How many words have you planned to write today? How many pages of a script? How much character development are you going to get done? You have to know where you are going so that you plan accordingly on how to get there.  For example if I know my word count for a book is 2000 for the day, I know I need at least two hours for that(Yes  book writing is a muscle I’m currently flexing) If I know I need to write 15 pages of a script, then do I have an outline yet, if not how will this slow me down? I am a writer who has to have an outline before writing, there are writers who don’t, know thyself and know how an outline works for you or against you, this will only come with more writing. Once you’ve scheduled your days target then focus on that till you get it done!
  3. Switch off notifications: Be it social media, emails etc. As a writer you need to discipline yourself to a focused deep time of writing.  This deepness won’t come in if you keep getting distracted by the latest on social media or checking emails.  It is so easy to go down a rabbit hole when a notification comes through, you read that, then it leads you to some other notification and before you know it, an hour is gone. So have the discipline to focus on the task at hand, leave your phone in another room, switch off the internet for the hour or two that you need to focus. Personally, I do one and a half hours of uninterrupted focus, where my internet is switched off and I focus hardcore for 90 minutes before taking a 15 minute break then back on focus again, then I do my hour break for lunch and so forth. There’s so much going on with reports of Corona every minute that if you don’t switch it off, the lock down will be over, and you won’t have gotten much done!
  4.  Fill up the creative well: With the lock down, most people have more time in their hands than they know what to do with. It is also a great time to dust off those books you bought and have never come around to reading, if you read online, get the kindles and reading apps running and do some reading.  As a creative you need to constantly refill that well or you’ll run on empty. There’s the temptation to binge watch stuff and there’s a place for that, but for writers, words are our tools of trade so let’s discipline ourselves to interact more with words.  Perhaps its time to read up on that shows’ or film scripts that you’ve wanted to read but didn’t have time to. If you’re looking for a script to read. Go to simplyscripts.com type the name of film or TV show and download it, for free and get reading scripts too.
  5. Stay Positive: With all the bad news around us, of deaths, more corona infections, it’s easy to let that energy suck you in, I know from my experience that when I’m down emotionally, I’m not at my best creatively, so guys, lets focus on the positive, there’s lots of people getting healed, vaccines being tested and so much more. If you pray like me Pray and leave it all to God. Let’s keep the energy positive so that we can be creative and get great stories written to be seen in this world in the near future.

I hope this helps get you back on the band wagon if you’d fallen off. Happy writing!

Please share this article with some friends. TIA!

Happy writing!

8 thoughts on “5 TIPS TO BEING A PRODUCTIVE WRITER FROM HOME By Damaris Irungu Ochieng’”

    1. Wow! This is great. These foundations are great, they sound easy yet this is where I fail most time by binge watching etc

  1. Hi Damaris thank you for the pointers. I’m an aspiring writer and wish to find channels from which i can write and be paid. Please share some of them.

  2. Great and promising. Am keenly interested in joining you and be helped .Currently am editing anf proofreading a fictional novel based in the the people of Western Kenya at the turn of the 19th.Century. It carries the title ” The African Charm”.Its a great story.Please kindly and urgently advice howI can get this book to be published

    1. Hi Daktari! Congrats on writing the book! Options for publishing are many. You can get a publisher or self publish i.e indie Publish. If you want to get published then you might want to look at other books along your genre and themes and see who’s published them and approach them. If you want to Indie-publish then the process is not as daunting as it’s assumed to be. I’ll be sharing more on Indie-publishing and my journey in the next few weeks because I’m in that process currently. We can talk more on my email address. damaris@damarisirunguo.com

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