Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Motivation - Becoming a More Productive Writer

"Secrets" to Becoming a More Productive Writer

What is the secret to becoming a more productive writer? (Tweet this.) 

1) Make it a priority to make time for writing.

2) Write.

Let me restate that: Find what works best for you and show up for your writing appointment. Write.

Not much of a secret, you say? No, but it’s what you have to experience on your own.

As I’ve taken time, especially this year, to find out what is keeping me from becoming more productive, I’ve learned some things about myself. In all my years of family life, caring for my husband, children and parents, I set writing time on a pedestal as some unattainable, ethereal reward from another realm. It became something I didn’t deserve to do, because I had to get everything else. Done. First. I felt somehow if I didn’t I was being selfish.

Yet every time I heard a sermon on the Parable of the Talents, where the frightened servant buries the money given to him, I would wonder if that’s what I was doing with my writing. God gave me a desire, a love for stories and words, which I put on hold, and sometimes rightly so, but sometimes out of fear. I feared not writing something perfect, not being good enough. I feared what others thought.

There are times and seasons, but there are also moments we can seize—times when husbands can watch children for a couple of hours on a weekend, when we could leave early for work and write for a half hour at a coffee shop on the way to work. If you’re a homeschooling mom, as I was, what about taking a half hour at lunchtime while the kids read on their own or watch an educational video to do some writing or just some brainstorming on your own? If this is what God has given you to do, it’s all right to give yourself permission to take the time and enjoy it.

I had to learn to give myself permission to enjoy my writing, whether it was good or bad. I am still working and struggling through this, not allowing my perfectionism to slow me down or keep me from sitting down and writing. But one thing I have learned over these last few weeks of purposefully making new goals and attempting to follow through, I am making better progress, because I am planning for it. I’m not waiting for it to happen. Some. Day.

Last week, I decided to take the challenge my friend gave me not to check email
or social media before I reached my word count. I started the week with a 1,000 per day word goal and ended with a 500 a day word goal. I lost my resolve and started checking email when I thought it was important or at least after 500 words. Sigh.

However, I made it to 3500+ words last week. Yay! This week, I will have some research, editing and rewriting to do, but I am hoping to at least reach this word count. I will be happy to reach between 500 and 1000 new words each day, so we’ll see.

My advice to you: Start small with a goal you can attain. (Tweet this.) Can you put aside two hours this week to do research for a story you’re writing? Can you make a goal to write 500 words each day? 250 words? Can you set aside five days to do some writing? Three days? One day? It’s okay, no matter how big or how small, make it a goal you will strive for and achieve. Then show up, write and rejoice in the progress you are making!

What are you working on that you would like to make progress on this week? What are your goals? Please share!

Writing Prompt:  Sunshine on a cold winter’s day makes me feel . . .


  1. Great ideas. I do struggle with not checking my emails. Ugh. And I need to remember to count my blogging word counts as well as my project word counts. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Karla! It's definitely a work in progress for me. As different ideas help me, I share them. :)

  2. I appreciate this post, Kathleen. I struggle with not checking e-mail and social media before I get down to writing. I fear missing out on something important, when in reality 99.99% of what I read is not even close to important (at least not more important than my daily word count). I need to remind myself of this daily.

    1. It's a daily struggle for me, too, Jenny. Sometimes I don't win, but I'm getting better about being more disciplined. Every day I get down to writing first is a victory!

  3. Good thoughts, Kathleen. I have tried to write just a small amount per day and when I do that I feel like I have accomplished my main goal. Even a little a day adds up to that larger word count.

    1. Definitely, Tammie. Especially when other important things encroach on our time. Those small amounts really add up! Thanks for your comment.