How To Become a More Productive Writer
Do you struggle to meet your writing deadlines? Whether you’re a professional author who’s working on their 100th book, or if you’re working on your very first book, you should take steps to improve your productivity. Many authors drag their feet, choosing to procrastinate rather than perform actual work. So, how can you become a more productive writer?
Here’s an all-too-common scenario that every author has experienced: you sit down to begin writing your book, only to end up staring at a blank document for the next 30-60 minutes (or longer). Getting that first paragraph on paper is often the most difficult aspect of writing a book, and it’s also the most time-consuming. Rather than staring at a blank document, start writing whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, because you can always go back and edit it later.
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re writing a new book. You may have all intentions of churning out several pages, but then Facebook happens: you log into your account, update your status, converse with friends, and before you know it you’ve spent an entire hour on the site. Or you just need to see if your favorite online store has that product you’ve been meaning to buy, and you think you’ll take a quick look, only to find you ended up price comparing on multiple sites. Sound familiar? If so, try to limit or avoid social media and browsing when you’re writing. Most authors who’ve cut social media cold turkey reported an enormous improvement in their productivity levels. Besides, you can always wait until you are finished working to get on Facebook or buy that product.
As a writer, you should be fixated at the goal ahead, not what’s behind you. In other words, don’t get caught up worrying about things you wish you would’ve done differently. Keep your eyes ahead and constantly move forward to meet your goals. Also — don’t fall into micro-editing, going back over every sentence you just wrote and making revisions. Get the thoughts down, then edit later.
Poor time management is a huge productivity killer, especially for writers. If you spend half the day researching ideas for your book, you won’t have much time left to do any actual writing. A smarter approach is to create a schedule of your workday, listing all of the tasks you intend to accomplish along with a time frame. It’s okay if you are unable to finish these tasks in the allocated time at first. As you become more accustomed to this routine, you’ll eventually fall into a rhythm that allows you to meet your goals on time.
Even the most skilled and experienced writers need a break from time to time. Standing up and walking away from your work allows your body and mind to refresh, at which point you can return with an even greater level of determination to finish the task at hand. A good rule of thumb is to take a short 10-minute break every other hour. You can use this time to grab a snack, walk to the check the mail (assuming you are at home), or do some yoga/stretching exercises.
Have any other productivity tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!