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…