Are your friends, family and colleagues more productive than you are? If you have writer-ly friends, are they producing more content than you are? What is the secret? I have the inside track on how to be a (more) productive writer! The secret to writing success is within reach and it’s not even as difficult as you may imagine.
Ready. Set. Go for being productive.
When is the last time you proclaimed from the rooftops that, “I’m a writer!” To be taken seriously at what you do — or what you want to do — you need to own it. Embrace it. Tell everyone you meet, “I am a writer. What do you do?” If you’re mumbling your way through introductions and saying things like, “Oh, I dabble in writing” or “I’m working on a novel” or, “I blog for fun.” What?! If you’re a writer who wants to be taken seriously then you ARE a writer, you don’t dabble. You ARE working on a novel and its title is…! “I have a blog that I’ve been running for X number of years and I get X traffic.” Own it. Be the writer that you are. Act like the writer that you want to be! If you don’t take yourself and your writing craft seriously neither will your colleagues. Also, if you are wishy washy about it, you won’t focus on it and you likely will become less productive, instead of more.
Be specific. Don’t say, “I’m going to write two blog posts today” or “I will finish my novel by next year” or “I will work on my editorial calendar.” A specific goal is:
- I’m going to write two 700 word blog posts today about XYZ and I will have them live on my site on X date.
- I will finish my 60,000 word novel by June 1, 2016. To make that happen, break the 60,000 words down by month, then by week then by day to get the specific word count you need to hit to achieve your goal.
- I will complete an editorial calendar for the next three months that will include blog post titles, social media status update ideas, links, a headline and publication dates.
I’ve read before that you can achieve big goals by working on small, specific, repeatable actions.
Set goals you can achieve.
If you set goals that are too pie-in-the sky you will be setting yourself up for failure. For example, don’t say I will write a 60,000 word novel by Friday at 5 pm. You may be able to type out 60,000 words in the next three days, but chances are, they will not be publishable words. Don’t set yourself to standards that are simply too hard to meet. The first day or two that you don’t achieve your goal to write “2,000 words on my novel” it will snowball and you will eventually think that you’ll never catch up.
Give yourself permission to take a day off.
Track your goals.
If you aren’t accountable — at least to yourself — your goals will become a whisper in the wind. I have a daily to-do list that keeps me accountable to my clients and to myself. I love the idea of writing down what I want to accomplish that day and then crossing off the items I complete. This blog post, for example, wasn’t on my daily to-do list but you can bet I added it once I realized I was going to write it today and then I will cross it off once it’s complete. Why am I doing that? Because it feels good to see what I’ve accomplished AND because if I write two of my own blog posts but don’t complete something else on my to-do list I want to be able to look back and say, “Oh yeah, that’s why I didn’t get to XYZ task… not because I was slacking, but because I was working on something else.
Who wants to be more productive?
If it’s you, then these secrets just might get you on the right track to higher writing productivity. Let me know, in the comments what you do to achieve your goals.