Writing is an in-demand skill right now. Whether it’s blog writing, copywriting, article writing, or email marketing, people all over the globe are willing to pay very nicely for skilled writers and excellent content made by them.
As you’re being paid to create only first-rate content, the faster and more effectively you write, the more prominent a writer you’ll be on the market. As you become an increasingly recognized writer, more high-profile clients will want you to be the one creating high-quality content for them!
Now the question is, how do writers learn to increase their overall productivity so they can feel motivated to generally write more?
Below are 10 tips from writers who have well-established themselves in their writing field—be it books, blog pieces, and other formats—and share what has made them create content at their absolute best. These tips have helped me become a better writer myself.
“A great way to increase writing productivity is to set a goal and then make it public so others can hold us accountable.”—Kristen Lamb, author and blogger
Kristen Lamb advises that making your writing goal public is an excellent motivation booster. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Making a public declaration to the world and your audience gives you newfound responsibility. When we make a goal known to everyone, we’re under pressure to meet those expectations—and on time.
If I tell my audience (or worse, my family) that I’m going to do something, of course, I don’t want to fail and face that not-so-tiny embarrassment of having not done it. In this case, failure is not an option, and I’m more determined than ever.
Making a goal public is awesome motivation to make sure those goals are met. What’s even better is that once we nail that goal, we have a new writing milestone to openly brag about later on!
“The more excited I am about a project, the more productive I am. The trick to increasing my writing productivity is therefore to get super excited about the project and why I’m doing it. It’s a great motivator.”—Jo Linsdell, author and blogger
Can you name a single motivator better than good old excitement? The reason we start a project is because the idea of a specific, important writing assignment hits that inner geek inside us. (And the paycheck is a sweet cherry on top of this fabulous banana split.)
I know when I get offered a writing project that hits home for me, it’s like my inner nerd is unleashed like a little kid in a candy store after the manager declares “Everything is free!” I love it and my inner geek is very happy.
If you’re excited about a project, it won’t be boring, and it’ll go by much faster. You know the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun”? It’s the same with writing. Find something that you enjoy that can spark your productivity.
That way, we can learn to love our job and are happy to start working!
“Writing before dawn began as a necessity—I had small children when I first began to write and I needed to use the time before they said, Mama-and that was always around five in the morning.”—Toni Morrison, award-winning author
Upon doing research about Toni Morison, I found that this is a woman who truly had to work to become a real writer. She was a mother of two sons and had to schedule writing around her first duty as a mom. What did she do to get solid writing productivity done?
She would get up at 5 a.m. to find real personal time with her inner author. That’s right. 5 a.m.!
Was starting a morning routine like this worth it?
She confirmed it was a mentally hard process, but she was still able to write and create her best work at this time in her day. Before it even began and Mom duty took over!
The end result? The work she created won her multiple awards (including a Nobel Prize in Literature), and she is credited with helping put Black literature in the mainstream.
Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom who has an incredibly busy day with the kids, even you can find some hour of the day to become the best writer you can possibly be.
“I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place.”—Flannery O’Connor, award-winning author
Some new writers may be under the impression that unless they write for hours on end, they’re not a real writer. That’s far from the truth.
As Flannery O’Connor reveals—she was an award-winning novelist, let me remind you—she only wrote for about two hours every day and no more. Why? Because that was all the energy she had to give her writing.
Clearly, her efforts were not in vain.
You can devote an hour, two hours, or even 20 minutes to writing, and that can be more than enough. As long as you’re giving that time your absolute all, that’s all that matters. Don’t be flimsy and only put half your effort into it—if all you got is 20 minutes, you make those 20 minutes count.
When I’m writing and I realize my tired mind is not letting me put my true effort into it, I stop. Why? Because 10 minutes of 100% carefully planned writing is worth far more than writing you’ve spent an hour on but only put 50% of work into.
Remember: It’s about quality, not quantity.
“Advice for young writers: develop a skill for homaging the writers whose style you like best. Learn what it is about their writing that makes you enthusiastic. Whether it’s the lyricism of Annie Dillard, or the gaudy weirdness of Kurt Vonnegut, use these things to inform your own writing practice. And never stop learning new tactics and strategies from the greats.”—Shanan Haislip, writer and blogger
One trick I taught myself as a kid when trying to refine my writing skill was to study the writing techniques of other authors (both popular and the ones I personally loved). As I studied their writing styles, I would incorporate those traits within my own writing craft.
As Shanan of The Procrastiwriter advises, study the writers that inspire you. Study how they write, what makes you love their style, what specific forms they use, and learn to blend that art into your own writing.
Just because you may not be able to personally contact them doesn’t mean you can’t look to them for “advice” in becoming a better writer nonetheless.
“If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.”—Stephen King, award-winning author
One advice I heard from some writers was to turn to TV or YouTube for inspiration. For some, this works. However, for others, it kills all creativity and serves as a stumbling block in getting that creative flare fired up.
For Stephen King himself, watching TV proved to be a hindrance on his creativity and productivity. Perhaps, if you’re starting out as a writer, or realize you’re in a rut, don’t watch television in order to see what works best for you.
Nothing wrong with kicking it old school. I know Netflix only serves as a huge distraction for me, and I’ll end up binge-watching a show instead of writing.
Take some time outside, enjoy the sun and fresh air, listen to the little kids screaming in their little antics, and seek inspiration from the simple yet adventurous world around you.
Who knows, maybe the neighborhood kid will do something to inspire your next story or article!
“Something new writers should do, but often don’t, is consider their long-term plans from the start. That means picking a speciality, really getting to know that target market, setting appropriate and sustainable rates, and starting to build their network and professional platforms early.”—Jennifer Mattern, a blogger, writer, and author
Some writers try every sort of genre just for the sake of trying it. The problem with that? It makes them lose focus of that one genre that fits them perfectly like Cinderella’s glass shoe.
Think of your niche as being your glass shoe!
Find what writing type is best for you, and go all-in on it; focusing on improving yourself as a writer in one specific writing form is best as opposed to trying to “drive” in every direction. This is a tip I wish someone had told me years ago when I decided to pursue writing as a real career.
What happens when you aimlessly drive in every sort of direction? You get nowhere. So stick to one location in mind, and “drive” straight to it without losing focus.
Learn everything you can about it, and become determined to become the absolute best in it. Build your own brand, and network yourself as its expert.
Like Cinderella, you’ll be far closer to finding your happily-ever-after as a writer after finding your own “glass shoe.”
“I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are at their best, creatively. They need to ask themselves ‘What does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside, or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?’”—Toni Morrison, award-winning author
As the famous Toni Morrison advises, find what setting gets your “creative juices” flowing for maximum results.
Setting can mean a huge difference between being able to write or being hit with writer’s block. Find what setting is best suited for your creative mind. For everyone, though, it can be vastly different things.
So ask yourself a few things about what works best for you. Do you need peace and quiet? Some noise, or background music? If so, what music works best?
For me personally, I need peace and quiet, along with some no-talking ASMR playing in my headphones as I sip a hot cup of green herbal tea. But, that’s just my specialty writing scene.
Find your own and let those creative juices flow!
“Eating healthy food fills your body with energy and nutrients. Imagine your cells smiling back at you and saying, ‘Thank you!’”—Karen Salmansohn, author
One thing many writers forget about is taking care of their body as well. I recently saw one writer complain about how they have put on weight since becoming an at-home freelance writer and wanting to know how other writers keep fit.
Remember: A healthy body helps keep a healthy mind.
So always go out for fresh air and walks. Even a 20-minute walk can make a huge difference in your life. I know I need my daily walks to keep myself from going stir-crazy.
And the most important reason to stay fit? Your state of mind is attached to the state of your body. If you lose your body, you lose your mind’s fullest productivity potential; which means your writing will suffer.
Treat your body like a temple with only the best care you yourself can give it. Do what will make you feel at your best healthwise and stay as the best writer you can be.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”—Stephen King, award-winning author
The most important tip of all is to always read and write. It can be easy to put off writing one day and say you’ll catch up tomorrow. But, tomorrow can remain tomorrow, and soon enough, you’ve gone weeks without writing.
Eventually, this bad habit results in your writing ability regressing or becoming stagnant. You’re absolutely nowhere closer to becoming a better writer. Potential progress has now been lost.
As Stephen King points out, in order to be a real writer, you must always read and write on a routine basis to refine your skills. There’s simply no way around this basic yet critical step. To become a better writer, it means to always keep reading and writing no matter what.
Writing productivity can be hard for some, and writer’s block is something every writer deals with at some point. However, it doesn’t have to be hard, as every successful writer has dealt with and overcame it with clever tricks that sparked a creative breakthrough.
But, every writer is unique in their own way and may have to find their own tricks into productivity success.
When you see another writer celebrating a milestone in their career, always remember they’ve dealt with creative blocks as well, just as you yourself are. It’s not about whether or not you can write; it’s about overcoming your challenges to produce your best writing possible regardless of these challenges.
There are also plenty of online writing support groups, articles, and platforms to help you out as well. After all, while writing may be a mostly solitary activity, you don’t have to be in it alone.
So learn from the experts who have struggled where you have, and figure out how to unleash your full writing success in your own unique way!
Mariah is a B2B writer who also offers editing services. She works closely with a client and uses her skills to craft content that captures a reader's interest, increases search engine visibility, and lets her reader take action. Check out her website MariahKrist.com to learn more about her.