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3 Ways for Becoming a More Productive Writer

Quote-about-making-time-for-writing
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.

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.

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.

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 turn their ebooks 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 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-consciouness 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.

If you follow all of these tips, I can guarantee that you will be come 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!

 

By Lorraine Reguly

Lorraine 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. Find her at Wording Well, where she gives away a FREE ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, to her newsletter subscribers.

17 replies on “3 Ways for Becoming a More Productive Writer”

For me freedom is the key. I have a flexible delivery schedule which helps, it wouldn’t work as well if I absolutely had to meet daily deadlines.

I just find sometimes I am in the mood for writing and it is easy. Other times when I try to force myself it just doesn’t work. I do still try to push a bit, as sometimes if I get started it goes well. But if it just isn’t working, I allow myself to do other things and then write when I feel like it.

This also means some weeks I will write a ton and other weeks not that much. I do also then schedule blog posts into the future (rather than publishing a ton when I write a lot and then publishing nothing for a long time).

John, I love it when I get “on a roll.” I am so productive then! So I get what you’re saying about trying to “force” your writing; it’s often impossible to write well during those times.

But as long as you know what works for you, you’ll do okay. Besides, that’s WHY we have that l’il ol’ “schedule” button! LOL

Right?!

Right.

Reading tips can be very helpful. Try them out to see if they work for you. But also remember there are usually many successful ways to proceed. Figure out what works best for you.

Hi Lorraine,

Good to see you at Kristi’s, yet again I think 🙂

This surely is a wonderful post, a one I can relate to being a write and of course a blogger too – so writing is what one does all day long! However, I usually never have problem with the flow of words and have often to stop myself from going overboard at times.

You are right about the writing process, though I think each person has their own way, depending on what suits them, but the general structure is the same. I am sure many would learn about how to become a productive writer from this one.

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

Yes, Harleena, this is my second post here. (Thanks again, Kristi!)

You’re right; each person must find what works best for him/her in order to be as productive as possible.

And yes, blogging and writing, though two separate things, often overlap! How could they not?! LOL

Thanks for the complimet on this post, too!

Hi Kikolani,

Thanks for giving the community the opportunity to meet Lorraine, you are awesome.

Hi Lorraine,

It’s so good to see you here and you did justice to this post, the 3 tips you mentioned were so spot on.

I enjoyed the read, it was time well spent.

Cheers.

Dan

Spot on, Lorraine.

I particularly agree with the part where you stated that ever writer needs an author. For many years, I used to be too confident in my own writing grammar. I felt used to think my articles are flawless until I was hired by a client who was actually an editor. He tore my piece apart and polished it up, making it read even more smoothly. Since then, I’ve always respected editors, and I’ve always warned writers to get their pieces through an editor.

Abass, I think you meant “editor” when you said “author,” but I know what you mean!

(And this is one example of WHY people need editors… to pick up on little boo-boos like this one!)

Yes, it’s true. Editors are more valuable than most people realize. They make your writing flow smoothly and help it makes sense.

Thanks so much for promoting the need for editors; more people need to become aware of the many benefits editors offer!

I sure appreciate you sharing your experience with your editor, too. Thanks!

Muhammad, that’s great to hear!

If you need some coaching or a consultation that will help you move forward and grow as a blogger, please feel free to reach out to me! Check out my SERVICES page on Wording Well for more info!

I wish you the best, and look forward to hearing from and helping you!

Hello Lorraine, I found your website via Google while searching for a related topic, your web site came up, it looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks. You share very nice tricks of writing productive article. very informative and love it

When you understand that there is a real distinction between these two procedures, you can look for help (if necessary) from an expert essayist OR manager (or both!) with a specific end goal to accomplish your blogging objectives.

To end up a more beneficial essayist, looking for an editorial manager is frequently the missing key. Most journalists actually expect that they can alter their own work, when, in actuality, it regularly takes a proofreader to bring up the blemishes and shortcoming in the composed piece.

Yes, having another pair of eyes on your work is definitely a plus, even a necessity, in my opinion.

Others will catch what you won’t!

I am an editor but I often ask my mom to look over something I’ve written, if it’s really important! 😉

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