The more productive you are as a writer or blogger, the more writing gigs you’ll win, the more books you’ll write, and the more money you’ll earn! One of the keys to earning a great living as a writer is to increase not just the number of words you write every day, but to figure out what’s holding you back from writing, creating, producing.

Here are six productivity tips that work for me; I’d love to hear what works for you in the comments section below!

Before my tips, a quip:

“The most important thing for a writer is to be locked in a study.” ~ Erica Jong.

Ah, but Erica, you can be locked in a study and still fritter away hours on Twitter or Facebook! There are more important things for writers than to be locked in a study, I think.

For some unbeatable writing advice, read The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success by Sage Cohen.

How to Be a More Productive Writer or Blogger

1. Figure out what’s holding you back. I’m wrapping up a new book proposal, which I hope my agent sells to a big publishing house early in the new year! But, working on that proposal was like pulling teeth. At first, I couldn’t figure out why…but I soon realized it’s because I’ve written other three book proposals and not one of those books was published. I detest wasting time and energy, and this current book proposal might be a waste of both…and this niggling thought held me back from writing the best book proposal my agent ever saw. But after I figured out why I wasn’t being productive, I made a list of the benefits of writing the proposal even if the book never gets published…and I was able to happily work on it every day for two weeks straight.

2. Break a big writing project down into small steps. If you’re writing a book or book proposal, break it up into chapter outlines or a table of contents. If you’re starting a new blog, research a list of steps you’ll need to undertake before it goes live. If you want to write a feature article for a big national magazine, research the past issues to learn the writing style and format. Start with the small, easy tasks and move to the larger, more difficult ones.

3. Set a time limit on the “worst” tasks. The worst part of working on my most recent book proposal was the “Features and Benefits” section. So, I scheduled myself fifteen minutes a day to work on that part, and as soon as that time was up, I moved on to other more enjoyable part of the book proposal (creating growth charts of all my Quips and Tips blogs was a blast!). To increase your writing productivity, set aside small amounts of time to do the things you like least, and reward yourself afterward with one of your favorite tasks or activity when you complete it.

4. Let yourself do a bad job the first time. I’m sure you’ve heard Anne Lamott’s writing advice to “write a sh***y” first draft” (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life). Go ahead, fellow scribes: write a bad query letter, create a terrible book proposal, or sketch an ugly blog logo. To be a more productive writer or blogger, let go of perfectionist tendencies. Lower the bar, fellow scribes. Once you get the dreck out of your system, you’ll be free to move onwards and upwards (and your writing skills will improve, too!).

5. Work with your rhythms. My best writing and blogging time is first thing in the morning, from 5:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.. That’s when I do my “real” writing and thinking. The afternoons, I save for uploading blog posts or researching story ideas because that’s when my energy flags. What are your natural work rhythms? To be productive, be strict about scheduling your most difficult, attention-requiring tasks in the hours you’re most with it. Save the drudge work for when you’re tired or usually experience low energy levels.

6. Savor the past to increase your writing productivity. Remember that article you published, the blog post everyone commented on, the latest writing gig you landed? To be more productive as a writer, enjoy those victorious feelings – and picture yourself feeling those same feelings when you’ve completed this current writing project. And if you want to earn a living as a writer, remember that increased productivity equals more money!

For more tips, read How to Make Writing Easy.

What makes you a more productive writer or blogger? I’d love to hear from you below…

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12 thoughts on “6 Ways to be a More Productive Writer or Blogger”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello Nisha,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, setting goals can help you be a more productive writer or blogger…and so can that inner drive to excel.

    Happy writing,

  2. Paying attention to some basic facts would make anyone creative and productive, as long as they keep an inner drive to excel in the area and set some goals with what they do at the moment.

  3. George, Shea, thanks for taking the time to comment, and for adding your insights to my tips for being more productive!

    Shea, I can’t believe I missed Anne Lamott in Oprah Magazine — those are two of my most favorite things in the world 🙂 I love that quotation, and am so glad you shared it.

    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Blogging Goals – 7 Types of Goals to Set for Your Blog =-.

  4. Hi Laurie,

    This is so practical, helpful and achievable. Very nice!

    I just happened upon your website — from a Twitter link, in fact. So, a little dallying sometimes leads to great rewards. Looking forward to reading more.

    Personally, #4 is the greatest liberator of all time. In fact, Anne Lamott was just in Oprah Magazine, sharing lovely reminders for all of us:

    “You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.”

    Happy holidays,
    .-= Shea McGuier´s last blog post ..5 Sites to Find Designers, Developers & Creative Freelancers =-.

  5. Laurie,

    I’m reading “The 4 Hour Work Week” right now and one of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen so far is to go ahead and set very tight deadlines for yourself. In applying this to writing – especially freelance writing – it makes perfect sense. If I am under deadline I write in a focussed manner and concentrate on what is important. Give me two weeks to write something and I’ll be all over the map until the very end.

    .-= George Angus´s last blog post ..Flash – Orb Chapter Two =-.

  6. Really great advice. Sometimes when i’m stuck, I free write with my eyes closed. I can’t always read it, but there will always be an idea for a topic in there.

  7. Reena — Congratualations on your freelance writing and blogging milestones! Yes, your writing and blogging schedule will get easier all the time, because it’ll be more ingrained in your life (and your family’s life, too). And, you’ll also learn to roll with the changes and blips in schedule…some days and weeks are simply not as productive as others.

    Omar — good for you for writing every day! Keep the faith, my friend…your income WILL increase if you don’t give up, and if you stay productive as a writer.

    Thursday — thanks for being here; it’s always a pleasure to hear from you. 🙂

    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Signs It’s Time to Hire a Webmaster for Your Blog =-.

  8. Great tips. I’m particularly a fan of Lamott’s advice. Her book has definitely helped me stick with writing over the years.
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog post ..Advertising Writing Services: Does It Make Sense? =-.

  9. Writing everyday is my goal. I slip up once in a while. But if I continue I know I’ll be a prolific writer and my income will increase. Just got to do it.
    .-= Omar´s last blog post ..Why Fight For Success? =-.

  10. Hi Laurie,
    Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been trying to see what fellow writers are talking about… I don’t even remember the path I reached to this blog, but I’m so glad I did 🙂
    This month completes my first year in freelancing and a month of blogging!
    I’ve been struggling with my productivity. I’m trying to work on schedules, but then there are kids, home, and other things that I find needs my attention every other day.
    Hoping with time, it will get better.

    Thanks for this post! Will stay in touch.
    .-= Reena´s last blog post ..How Do You Evaluate Success? =-.

  11. Thanks Dawn — and you’ve offered another great tip for increasing writing productivity. Don’t break your writing rhythm to answer the phone, check Twitter, check your blog or Amazon book sale stats, or upload a blog post!

    Stay in the zone, fellow scribes…
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Teaching Kids about Money at Christmas – Tips for Parents =-.

  12. Laurie-
    Great tips! You helped me out with something I’m struggling with. I typically write a post, then upload it. This totally breaks my writing rhythm and means I’m wasting “productive writing time” (That is, when I don’t have a baby in my arms) messing with WordPress. So simple. So obvious. Write and save, upload later.

    Now if I can just keep my a$$ off Twitter and Facebook I’d be set. 😉