It is perhaps the most popular question amongst writers- “In a fast paced world like ours, how can I produce tons of content, stay inspired and keep at my art?”
Every writer wants to be productive.
There is a pursuit and quest to write better essays, longer writings and stay consistent.
There isn’t one writer that does not worry about this.
What does productivity as a writer mean?
• Being consistent.
• Having a workable creative process/ system
• Staying inspired.
The journey to being a productive writer takes;
• Enthusiasm to imbibe new habits
• And insisting a progressive mindset.
It takes having an intention and a plan.
Productivity walks side by side with purpose.
It is the mother of all writing goals. A goal to write a book must be followed by a plan to start and complete it.
John Grisham daily writing goal was to write a page everyday and with this method he completed his novels and went ahead to become a bestselling fiction Author with more than 300 million of his books sold.
Octavia Butler wrote everyday no matter what, “screw inspiration” she said.
Productivity is often times a by product of consistency and a plan.
The best hack to being productive writer is taking every day intentionally. The goal to have a productive year starts with winning daily.
Concentrating on actually writing 200 words daily words is better than dreaming of writing 1000 words and never getting around to really doing it.
Give yourself a chance
Set goals that you can easily achieve, then achieve it. If you can write 100 words daily, do it.
More than setting goals is setting smart goals,- goals that are specific.
“I want to publish 50 poems in an anthology by April”
Do you notice something?
There’s a date.
So how can I make smart and achievable writing goals?
1. By word count
It is the easiest writing goal to achieve.
The big question is “how many words can represent a good writing goal?”
As a budding writer, I would not want you setting a 1000 words daily. As much as this is achievable, the purpose of this essay is to encourage you to build a writing habit rather than focusing on quantity.
If you are a new writer, set a goal for 200 words or 3oo words. When you are confident and have created a writing system that works, set a writing goal of 1,000 or 2000 words each day.
2. By writing projects
“I’ll finish my draft at the end of February”
“I’ll write my writing outline at the end of this week
When you are working on a project, you break your goals into smaller steps to achieve them one by one.
You overcome by setting smart goals.
A routine keeps you steady
When you observe people who are experts at their field or top performers, you realize that asides their interest, they possess a passion to be radical about what they want.
A routine keeps you steady.
Top performers have mastered their daily routines.
E.B White’s quote “A Writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper” is ever green.
Discover what works for you.
In an interview, Haruki Masrakami while discussing his habits said “when I am in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four am and work for five to six hours”
He adds “I keep this routine everyday without variation”
Your writing routine doesn’t need to be as explosive and special as other writing experts or famous novelists, what is important is being consistent at the little things and tiny steps.
It is true that not everyone, because of the irregularities of their work activities might be able to spend so much hours of time everyday working. It is therefore important to find the routine that suits your lifestyle.
Can you wake up an hour earlier than your usual time?
Can you reduce your screen time to concentrate on your writing?
Learn in public
There is so much truth in this.
A great way to be accountable I have learnt is by setting a goal in public and learning.
It is amazing sometimes what humans can do under pressure.
A very good example of trying to get the reins and learn writing properly is by publishing.
I know and understand the fear of Judgement that writers face.
In reality however, you get better with every word that you put out there.
Humans get better by DOING.
Also, when you publish publicly at a certain time or day, you feel obligated and automatically gain the responsibility to keep delivering.
Read, read and read
Don’t run out of ideas.
Teju Cole says and I verily believe this to be true “you must read more than you write”
You must keep your creative reservoir full and this only happens if you place premium importance on how much content you take in.
You are doing it wrong if you stare at the computer screen to write with a blank mind.
Before starting, make out time to really research, write and learn. Then write.
Writing should always come at the point when you have gathered sufficient information and you can’t not write.
Focus on the present.
Distractions are easy.
Productivity however is motivated by two things- discipline and motivation.
Everything is literally begging for your attention in a world like ours.
The internet and the worries we have. An important skill as a writer is focusing on the task at hand, not the next task or the next essay. That’s discipline.
Motivation comes with writing the ideas that keep nudging you.
We have been taught to write about the things that people want but there is a sweet balance in writing about the ideas that keep you researching; the ideas that won’t let you be till you write them.
Find these ideas and find the motivation to write.
Write more and faster
Most times, we are slower with our writing because we want to create a perfect work. No
Embrace your ugly drafts!
The faster you write, the more you are creating time for editing and shaping up.
A lot of us fall into the trap of self censoring while we write. It can hardly take you anywhere.
Write with the mistakes.
The great works that you see today were badly written at first.
Have a note taking system;
Note taking improves your writing.
This works for me.
There are many wonderful ideas that come to your mind in the middle of the day- most times we forget them but having a note helps you capture ideas, create a vignette, and use them for your daily writing.
This is a wonderful summary from David Perrell, the writing guy and founder of writer of passage!
- Save your best notes- you can trust that what is there is high quality.
- Publish regularly- Don’t wait till you are an expert to publish regularly. Your notes are an extension of your ideas.
I do hope that your productivity as a writer goes beyond reading this but actually putting to practice what you have learnt.
Here’s to more productivity.