Writers – Five Tips For Writing Productively

Woman writingDo you ever have those times where you know you should be writing, where you want to be writing, where you really, really feel pressured about writing…but aren’t getting your writing done? See if one of these five tips can help you build some momentum…

  1. Set aside time. Exactly how do you think you’re going to get your writing done if you don’t write? And how do you think you’re going to write if you don’t protect spaces for that writing? Runners who are training for a marathon don’t train when a block of time opens up. They block in the time. Set aside the amount of time you need and want to write. 15 minutes a day is better than 0 minutes a day (and 15 minutes a day is better than one block of 1 hour and 45 minutes – and is more likely to happen, too).

  2. Write with a partner. This may involve collaborating on a writing project or just doing parallel writing (like children engaged in parallel play). The two of you may just hold each other accountable on your individual projects or you may actually be writing together on the same project.

  3. Turn off your email. Answering email is not writing. Don’t pretend it is or that it’s just a warm up. It’s not. It’s email. No one has ever earned a dollar or earned tenure by writing and responding to email. Turn it off and get real writing done.

  4. Sit where you have nothing else to do. When you are sitting at a game, sitting in the car, waiting in the doctor’s office, sitting on a plane, sitting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the like, you have nothing else (productive) to do. Always have paper and a pen/pencil (or your computer). See if your brain doesn’t respond to the lack of stimulation by seeking an outlet through writing. I’ve experienced it many-a-time. And this is far more productive than calling someone you wouldn’t normally care whether you talked with – or reading an out-of-date Good Housekeeping or Field and Stream.
  5. Limit interruptions. Although breaking your writing down into manageable chunks is wise, writing in fits and starts due to interruptions is a maddening and less-than-productive practice. Research galore is available that documents the amount of time it takes us to complete tasks when we are interrupted. For our purposes, suffice it to say that our productivity is significantly hampered if the phone rings, someone calls out your name, the email ‘ghost’ displays incoming messages, or other electronic devices that chime and chirp. Do everything within your power to limit all potential interruptions. You’re an adult and you know what has the potential to interrupt you. Take charge.

propellingFor more tools and tips to help you in your writing journey, consider Get a Plan! Guide® to Writing Better, Faster, & (Yes!) More Easily part of the Get a Plan! Guide® Series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.

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