Last Updated on: April 17th, 2017
Does a blank screen intimidate you?
Does the thought of writing 2000 words seem like a tough task?
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.
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.
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!
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!
NOTE: This post first appeared on Kikolani in 2015. It has been updated and republished here to serve you better!