Top 5 Tips for Writing Productively
Updated: Apr 7
I'm a procrastinator. I've been a procrastinator all my life and I've found that I work better under this type of pressure. But if you're not like me, here are the top five ways you can write productively and actually get stuff done.
1. Schedule "Business" Hours
Yup. You heard it. This is your job. If you want to be a writer, you should make time for it. If you want to be a writer who can pay her bills off of it, you must make time for it. Start small with a four-hour work day and slowly increase your business hours as your projects increase. The great thing about these business hours are that they work around your schedule (or other people's schedule if you constantly do things for others).
2. Establish Word Count Goals
A daily word count goal is usually best. If you're new to writing, setting a 500 word-a-day goal is a great start. If you've been writing for a while, maybe you would thrive on a 1,000 word-a day goal. Whatever your word count goal, make sure you really strive to hit it every day. This will not only make you a better writer, it will train you to meet deadlines that will be helpful in your writing career.
Technology is everywhere these days. It is so tempting to take a five-minute break to scroll through Facebook or Instagram only to find that two hours later, you're still on the couch eating chips and laughing at the newest Baby Yoda meme. Ignore technology during the time you're supposed to be writing. Turn off your phone and the television. Hell, you can even switch off your wi-fi connection completely. If you're writing, be present.
4. Word Vomit
Do you ever feel like you have writer's block? I do, all the time actually, but I only recently found out that this is not an actual syndrome and there is nothing physically wrong with my brain. Writer's block stems from the anxiety we might get from looking at a blank page and knowing that words are supposed to be on that page. I realized that I already had the tool to combat writer's block. We used to call it "brainstorming"; I prefer the term "word vomit". If you ever feel stuck, just write whatever comes to mind. Don't think about it. Most of your thoughts may not be useful, but there will be a few sentences in there that you could probably build upon.
5. Write for Yourself
This kind of goes along with number four. I know first-hand how difficult this may be, but write without judgement. Your first draft of any piece of writing should be just for yourself. Don't worry what anyone else might think... At first. Your rewrites and edits are where you should keep your readers in mind. (Thank you Stephen King for this piece of advice!)
If you want more tips on writing productively, check out Tarah Benner's article "The Only 10 Writing Productivity Tips You'll Ever Need".