3 Ways for Becoming a More Productive Writer

Last Updated on: April 17th, 2017

3 Ways for Becoming a More Productive Writer

Does a blank screen intimidate you?

Does the thought of writing 2000 words seem like a tough task?

COPY CODE SNIPPET

Do you have an indescribable fear of not being a “good enough” writer?

If so, relax.

Most people do!

That’s why I’m writing this blog post for you.

By sharing my top three tips, I’m going to help you become a more productive writer!

Tip #1. Realize That Writing, Editing ARE Two Different Things

Intuitively, you already know this. But do you realize the differences?

What do writing and editing really involve?

Let’s look at the basic dictionary definitions of each.

Writing is the act of producing and recording words in a form that can be read and understood. It is also the way that you use written words to express your ideas or opinions.

Editing is the act of preparing written material for publication or presentation, by correcting, revising, eliminating, adding, or adapting words, making it suitable or acceptable for others to read.

Blogging, as we all know, involves multiple things, including writing and editing blog posts. (Related read: 5 Things New Bloggers Need to Know)

Once you realize that there is an actual difference between these two processes, you can seek help (if needed) from a professional writer OR editor (or both!) in order to attain your blogging goals.

Note that you can also hire me for both writing and editing.

To become a more productive writer, seeking an editor is often the missing key. Most writers naturally assume that they can edit their own work, when, in reality, it often takes an editor to point out the flaws and weakness in the written piece.

Sure, you can use these 5 self-editing tips.

You can also download my bonus checklist of 17 Editing Tips for Writers!

There are several stages in both the writing and editing processes.

However, the two can be intertwined, which makes people think they are the one and the same. I wil clarify the differences between them now.

1. Outlining is the first stage in the writing process. This involves getting your basic, “big” ideas onto paper (or your computer screen).

2. Drafting is the second stage of the writing process. This involves writing a few sentences about each of your main points.

3. Expanding is the third stage of the writing process. This involves writing the “meat” of your work. Here you expand upon your initial points, go in-depth, and incorporate your purpose into your piece.

Now that your work has been written, it’s time for a bit of editing to take place, as there are still two more stages to the writing process: Re-writing… and more re-writing!

The first stage of the editing process involves reading what’s been written, and determining if the piece flows.

During this stage, many things happen. Facts are checked. Grammar, syntax, and punctuation are perfected. As well, editors will note if things need to be re-arranged. They will also determine if anything needs to be omitted, and also determine whether something is missing or not. Thus, the first re-writing stage occurs.

Once cohesion has been achieved, the piece will be “left alone” for a while.

When it is returned to, it will undergo a second round of editing. Other points may be added then, too.

The final stage of the editing process involves proofreading. During this stage, any misspelled words are corrected and grammatical improvements are made. Thus, the second re-writing stage occurs!

The final product will be a finished, polished piece that anyone would be proud to read!

Knowing the difference between the writing and editing processes and how they intertwine is one of the keys to becoming a more productive writer.

If you happen to need an editor, I’m available for hire. (I also write, blog, coach, and help others become authors! I can even turn your e-books into print books!)

 

Stephen King quote on starting to write

Tip #2. Get Over Your Fear by Blindfolding Yourself

Seriously. I’m not kidding. Blindfold yourself and try some stream-of-consciousness writing.

As I mentioned in my post on Problogger, stream-of-consciousness writing involves writing down whatever comes to mind, ignoring typos, omitting periods, and basically separating the writing from the editing process. Stream-of-consciousness writing does not have to be logical or follow an order. Instead, rules can be broken and complete freedom from writing conventions should be had.

Stream-of-consciousness writing allows you to have other freedoms, too, while writing. You don’t have to worry about being judged. You can make mistakes. Everything is going to be “fixed” during the editing process anyway, so let yourself go and just write.

The scariest moment is always just before you start. ~Stephen King

Once you start, you’ll find it difficult to stop! Trust me on this one. Not knowing how many words you’ve written will help you get over your fear of having to write those 2000 words, too! Plus, you’ll find yourself unleashing more creativity than you ever imagined possible.

Tip #3. Be An Accountable Time Ninja!

Okay, so I’m combining two tips into one here. The first is to be accountable (to yourself and to others).

By telling others your goals, or having an “accountability buddy,” you will force yourself to meet your goals, as your friends or buddies will be expecting you to succeed, and will be checking in on your progress on a regular basis.

The second is to be a ‘time ninja.’

Q: “What’s a ‘time ninja,’ Lorraine?'” 

A:  A ‘time ninja’ is someone who plans their time and lives life according to a schedule (or tries to!). A ‘time ninja’ prioritizes tasks, and completes the most important and hardest ones first. Time ninjas set deadlines… and actually meet them. They are the most productive people, too… whether they are writers or not.

Q: How do I become a ‘time ninja’?

A: There are several things you can do to become a time ninja. Here are six:

1. Use empty pockets of time wisely. Empty pockets of time are those times when you are doing something else… and are simply waiting.

For example, while waiting in the doctor’s office, record something on your phone. Carry a pen and a pad of paper with you to jot down notes. If you commute via train, use that pocket of travel time. Trust me, all these pockets of time add up, and will help you become a more productive writer!

2. Make time to write. Get up an hour earlier. Forgo an hour of TV.  Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them. Each of these will allow you to “make extra time” for yourself to write.

3. Plan ahead. Use a calendar AND use a day book (also called an agenda book). Determine how many words you need to write, and by when, then calculate how much you need to output each week and each day in order to meet that goal. Many authors (and wannabe authors) do this. 

4. Allow yourself freedom and don’t stress if you fail. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your daily quota. Life happens, and the unexpected is to be expected! Sicknesses will arise. Something will come up. Writer’s block will happen… among a million other things. The main thing to remember is that you will experience more success if you are flexible!

5. Time-box. Batch tasks. Set specific times of the day to perform certain activities. For example, only check your email twice a day, at a set time each day.

6. Write at YOUR optimal time. Your optimal time is the time when you feel the freshest and are the most eager and energetic. For me, this time varies. Sometimes my optimal time occurs late at night or early in the morning, when all is quiet, and I can hear myself think.

My concentration is best then. Yet, at other times, I am so inspired to write (or work) that I can effectively “block out” all distractions (like the TV going, noise from children playing, the irritation of the washer or dryer running, etc.).

Experiment to find what works best for YOU.

7: Use the 15 tips mentioned in 15 Tips for Effectively Managing YOUR Precious Time.

If you follow all of these tips, I can guarantee that you will become the productive writer you were meant to be! 🙂

And if you ever need help, simply ask for it.

That, in itself, is a strength most people misconstrue as a weakness.

You’ll not only get more done, but you’ll feel better, too!

 Quote about making time for writing

Additional Resources

There are many other things you can do to become a master writer, including these 20 things.

There are also several things you can do to overcome writer’s block.

Plus, you can use these tools to keep you motivated to write.

And if you’re really stuck, you can use these websites to bring back your writing inspiration.

Just don’t forget to act when inspiration hits you!

Lorraine Reguly's Face and the Wording Well logoLorraine Reguly is a freelance blogger, writer, and editor for hire. She’s also an author who can help you create an ebook to give away on your site, sell, and even turn into a print book. Her business site is Wording Well, where she gives away a FREE ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, to her newsletter subscribers.

NOTE: This post first appeared on Kikolani in 2015. It has been updated and republished here to serve you better!

18 thoughts on “3 Ways for Becoming a More Productive Writer

  1. I love #2 Lorraine. Blindfolding yourself and writing helps the words flow. Later, edit your work. But letting the stream flow freely taps into something deeper, something emotional, that you could never unleash if you were worried about editing….or screwing up the post. Write, write and write some more. Let it flow. Let it go. This raw material is the stuff of greatness. Then you can edit for the final package. Loving these tips.

    Ryan

    • says

      Ryan, I actually have a hard time with this one. I need to see what I am typing as I type it, otherwise, I make too many typos! LOL

      However, when I write with a pen on paper, I often do the stream-of-consciousness writing quite well. 🙂
      I edit later.

      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to be “free” when you write!

  2. Hi there Lorraine,

    I’m very glad that I found your blog. I wish to do it before, but as they say never late than better.

    I decided to comment on this post among the others because it shares so much value to me.

    These days I’m totally focused on creating new content. The tips that you shared here are just top-notch.

    Kudos to you for that.

    Waiting to see more posts like this.

    Cheers,

    Clay Smith.

    • says

      Thanks, Clay! 🙂

      I hope you have subscribed to my email list and picked up your free copy of 20 Blog Post Must-Haves!

      I’m all about helping others and I am glad you liked these tips. 🙂

  3. Hey Lorraine,

    Awesome post dear, I enjoyed reading, but my best way to be productive writer is write when I feel I must write and of course I always pick a topic on which I love and it helps me not only write 3-5k words, but I can solve maximum queries of users on that particular topic.

    So, this is my way to be productive writer & when I do not write I promote my content on social media, as it helps me get more visitors & I turn some of those to my subscribers.

    • says

      Jelina, it’s great to hear that you write when you’re inspired! I do, too! 🙂

      However, some people need to be more disciplined. They need to practice their writing skills.

      If what you are doing is working for you, then keep it up!

  4. Hi Lorraine,

    I’m glad to read a fantastic piece as this from you, again. Writing could mean so many things to different people. People have diverse ways of reading and understanding things and people; so it is in writing.

    The “Accountable Time Ninja” caught my attention the most while reading through. I will be applying the guide made available here as soon as I can. I do appreciate your drive to share with this awesome community.

    Thanks,
    Prince.

  5. Walter Scott says

    What keeps me motivated and productive, are my pains and dreams (and as the mighty song Epitaph puts it, nightmares and dreams tear apart the man!), so I don’t expect myself to be scheduled, though that causes losses like the very last one that I missed a great competition opportunity which I had high motivations for and was very optimist about my job, and that could just change my life, but at the end what matters the most is the product itself.

  6. says

    Lorraine,
    I really enjoyed this post. You can make a course on this you know! 🙂 Teaching others to self-edit or running a masterclass on that would be awesome and also showing how to effectively use your time. Something small like an hour masterclass on this would be perfect for your audience (and I would tell my subscribers about it too)…

    We’ll talk about it next Friday during our Starbucks meeting 🙂

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