Written by: Mary Yamin-Garone, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
In a world full of distractions, writers are challenged to find time to be productive. Between juggling commitments and doing battle with procrastination and self-sabotage, it can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.
The Truth about Productivity
Some of us write every day. We have to. So, maybe finding time isn’t an issue. Others write intermittently, often putting it off for weeks or months. How often you write or how many words you write each day, doesn’t necessarily correspond to how much copy you produce. Plenty of writers who barely have an hour to write a week, crank out more work in a year than some who write every day.
While being a “fast” writer may mean you can put out more pages than a “slow one,” it’s not necessarily true. Time doesn’t equal productivity. The trick is getting the most “productive” bang from every minute you write. Here are my 10 tips to become a more productive writer.
1. Eliminate excuses. We all make excuses not to write. To be productive, however, we must decide which ones are valid and which are attempts at procrastination. Let’s face it. We all procrastinate to some degree. I know I do! But saying you don’t have time to write isn’t a valid excuse. We can always find time to do what we love. So, list all your writing excuses and challenge each one. Then push those excuses aside and start writing.
2. Don’t self-sabotage. What stops many writers in their tracks is they don’t think their writing is any good. They worry about what their readers might think, bad reviews, rejection and the list goes on. As writers, we need to replace negative self-talk with positive messaging. When you catch yourself falling into that type of thinking, counteract it by making a list of the worse possible things that could happen if you write something terrible.
Will your family and friends hate you? Will the world come to an end? Will you crawl into a hole and stop writing? No! Rejection will come. Even the most successful writer suffers the slings and arrows of criticism. So what? It won’t kill you. On the contrary, you’ll learn from it and improve. Consider it a gift. Whenever you hear that negative voice, challenge it. Tell it to come back later. You’re busy writing.
3. Organize your thoughts. There’s no better way to increase your writing productivity than with an outline. (Flashback to those grade school English classes.) It helps you organize your thoughts so you can write faster and clearer. There’s nothing more frustrating or difficult than having to compose an 800-word blog post with no idea about where to start. Your outline should include the main points. Then create three to five subheads and three to five bulleted points for each.
4. Time yourself. Set a timer for 45 minutes. Write with your head down until the bell goes off then get up and do something else for about 15 minutes. This will make you more motivated to write, knowing there’s a set time for a break. It also gives you time to clear your head and come back with renewed energy.
5. Establish a daily writing routine. Make sure it’s manageable and achievable and includes a “To Do” list. Update it every day so you know what you need to accomplish. Doing so will serve as motivation, especially if you treat yourself when you’ve checked off everything.
6. Keep your workspace clean and organized. That way, you’ll know where everything is. No more wasted time looking for pens, files, notes and that secret stash of sweets.
7. Free yourself of distractions. If you’re constantly tempted to check your email, Facebook or Twitter, you’ll most likely struggle with productivity. Make sure your writing time is dedicated to writing.
8. Hold yourself accountable. Set daily, weekly and monthly deadlines for completing your writing project. Then schedule time into your calendar for the necessary tasks.
9. Be passionate. It will sustain your writing efforts. That’s why you should choose subjects that light you up and align with your Big Why. If you combine passion and purpose, you’ll feel inspired.
10. Show up. Above all else, show up every day as the writer you want to be with the energy and attitude you want to have.
If you’re struggling to become a writer or finding it difficult to finish your writing project, it’s time to adopt new habits. If you put even a few of these tips to work for you, your productivity will improve ten-fold and you’ll become a better writer.
For more writing tips, visit my website.
Mary Yamin-Garone, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Mary Yamin-Garone is an award-winning writer, editor and book/writing coach. In her 36 years, she has seen most every facet of the writing world as the featured guest writing expert on a weekly radio talk show; the recipient of numerous writing awards and accolades; and the coach and editor for several best-selling authors. One of her proudest moments came after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mary received the Communication Concept 2002 APEX Award for Publication Excellence for Magazine and Newspaper Writing for her work after 9/11. She recently launched her signature coaching program, Bring Your Words to Life. Mary will help you improve your writing and turn your most important life experiences and knowledge into your best-selling book.