How do you become a more productive writer? That’s a loaded question. Productivity, as you hopefully already know, requires a few major attributes in terms of writing well, often, with purpose. One reason many self-proclaimed aspiring writers can’t get any writing done is because they can’t get past common roadblocks to writing productivity … or rather, they don’t even know what these potential roadblocks are.
There are habits and circumstances killing your writing productivity. Here are the most common ones, and how to extinguish them.
Self-editing, while you’re writing, is destructive and time-consuming. It’s tempting; I know. I still do it way more often than I should, too. If you’re always stopping to fix what you just wrote five seconds ago, your piece isn’t going to move forward very quickly, if at all. As tempting as it may be, save editing for later. Always finish writing first to make the best use of your writing time.
Too much dependence on tech can distract you and slow down your progress. Sometimes you get caught up in a new writing or productivity app and put your actual writing second instead of making it a priority. I’m not saying tech is evil. I’m not saying you can’t use it. But if it’s taking away from your writing time, you might want to consider relying less on apps and programs to stimulate your creativity.
What’s your excuse for not getting any writing done yesterday? Mine was “I’ve already been staring at a screen for too long today, this 1000 words can wait.” Excuses are your worst enemy and probably one of the hardest writing hurdles to overcome, especially as a beginner. They’re how you convince yourself to put writing at the bottom of your to-do list. Break them down.
4. Looking for motivation/inspiration
Do you always try to “get inspired” before sitting down to write? You have things a little backwards. Motivation and inspiration are the result of actually doing something. You probably won’t usually feel like writing until you’ve been sitting in a chair writing for awhile. Write, and you will feel motivated to write. Write, and you will feel inspired to keep writing.
5. Lack of focus
Sometimes I realize I’m trying to work on too many writing projects at once, and that’s why I struggle to get more writing done. You’re much better off focusing on one project at a time, even if that means you sit down, spend an hour on one thing, take a break, and then spend another hour on something else. You need to focus on something in order to make real progress with it.
To accomplish everything you want to accomplish as a writer, you need to get as much writing done as possible. Plenty of things can and will get in your way of that. Stuff happens. What’s important is that you try, over time, to stay as consistent and focused as possible. Slow, steady work is better than no work at all. Writing, as a process, is different for everyone. Your ability to be productive despite your current roadblocks is what makes you stand out. We all struggle. It’s part of the journey. You have the power to overcome it, though. Write on.
What’s killing your writing productivity this week? How do you plan on crushing those things to get more done next week?
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.