Want to be a more productive writer and boost your word count without giving up your social life?
Try these 17 writing productivity tips and see which work for you.
#1 Write about a subject you love and your word count will increase with ease
That old adage is true about finding a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. If you are writing about a subject you know inside out, and it’s one you’re passionate about, your word count will skyrocket.
#2 Try piece-working…
Writing isn’t just about writing, technically, is it? There’s the research, the image sourcing (if you’re writing biz content) and the uploading process for starters. So instead of beating yourself up for only writing 500 words today, give yourself a pat on the back because you had to research your facts for 2 hours before you could even start writing.
#3 Write first, edit second
However tempting it is to be a perfectionist and fiddle with your syntax before you’ve even finished that second paragraph, don’t do it. Your focus should be on getting the first draft finished, editing is a totally different beast and needs a totally different mindset.
#4 Write when your brain is at its freshest
If you’re a night owl, write when the kids are in bed. If your brain cogs whirr faster before sunrise, set your alarm earlier. You’ll be amazed at how many extra words you clock up without it impacting on your day.
#5 Try a different location for writing
A change of scenery can work wonders, so instead of locking yourself in your usual writing cave, try writing from your local coffee shop or library. You could find a park bench in the sunshine or the forest or the beach… it works wonders, especially if you’re in a bit of a writing rut.
#6 Switch off your internet when you’re supposed to be writing
Social media and emails can wait. Your writing can’t. When you approach your writing with a scattered brain, your writing will suffer. So approach it with a laser focus instead of half-heartedly.
#7 Stop the excuses!
Don’t kid yourself you’ve got writer’s block or that you’re not in the right writing mood today. Stick at it. If you need to warm up your writing muscle, just write a stream of consciousness before you start on your ‘real’ writing.
#8 Set yourself daily writing targets
Tighten up your writing process by setting yourself daily writing targets. This will boost your confidence, increase your productivity and keep you focused on your designated task for the day.
#9 Prioritise your writing time
Block out a couple of hours in your diary, just like you would book in a client appointment. Don’t give it up for anyone.
#10 Adopt the ‘write’ mindset
Writing time isn’t an indulgence, it’s a necessity. So when you’re arguing with yourself in your head, and telling yourself you ‘should be doing x, y, z’ instead of writing, remember this.
#11 Seize the moment
Keep a notebook with you at all times because we never plan for any disruptions to our day but if they do happen, we can always use them to our advantage.
#12 Prioritise your writing time
Block out a couple of hours in your diary as if it were an everyday appointment – dentist, docs, hairdressers. Don’t give it up for anyone.
#13 Get the right tools for the job
If you’re on a writing mission, please use the right equipment for the job. I once had an author ask if I could type up his novel for him. ‘Of course,’ I said, ‘you can post the handwritten copy to me.’ Oh, no, I just type all the notes on my phone. So could I just send them all to you in text messages?’ Erm… sorry, no can do. #thisisnotproductivewriting
#14 Save your work regularly
This may seem obvious but I hear so many colleagues, friends, fellow authors telling their story of what happened when they lost whole manuscripts, 20,000 words, etc etc, and I used to be guilty of being slack at saving, but once bitten and all that. Save your writing on a portable hard drive, a flash drive/USB drive and/or even in the cloud if you need to. Every extra bit of saving prevents having to start the smallest document again from scratch.
#15 Set yourself a deadline
Nothing ever gets finished without a deadline… you know what to do.
#16 Treat your writing day like your working day
Take regular breaks, make a to-do list, keep off the internet, and don’t get sidetracked.
#17 Practice batch-working
Break down your writing tasks into batches. So spend one session sourcing images, another finding suitable weblinks, another researching facts/statistics/the competition and another on your writing. Batch-working is a great motivator.
- I hope these 17 tips help you become more productive. If you have any productivity tips for writers, feel free to share them with us in the comments.
- I’d love to hear them.
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