How To Be a More Productive Writer
The quest for most people who want to write books or blogs is how to be a more productive writer. Not how to churn out more content, but how to produce good quality words which add value to the reader.
The reality is that most people need help to become more productive writers so that they can manage their work with a level of ease.
I learned a long time ago that to get my writing done, I first needed to know how I liked to do things, what would keep me motivated and the power of the chunk.
If you want to publish your book by a set date, you have first to set your outcome to get it done and then plan your time effectively. Your next job is to set some dates. I like to do things in chunks and my book blog week needs organising so that I achieve my goals.
By having a plan and knowing how you like to write you can, I promise, become a more productive writer who enjoys the process.
The all-important mindset needs to be considered and working out how to overcome writer’s block.
If you are blogging your book and taking the 30-day challenge, you will have set your goal to write 30,000 words in 30 days. This is possible if you put your mind to it and stick at it. These will be better than first draft words. Which is a reward in itself.
You may find that blogging for 30 days is not possible. In which case look at writing for 5 days a week to get your first 30,000 words done. If that is too much the find a blogging schedule that works for you. The key is to plan, focus and do what you can.
Imagine your book is 30,000 words. How many words can you write in an hour? 500 or 1000? How long are your blogs? Mine are around 1000 or more… How many words can you write per day? 1000, 2000 or 3000? Will you write every day, or will you set a weekly target and batch write your blogs? When I do the challenge, I will write every day with a target of 1000 words or more.
Once my book is at first draft I need to take time out to reflect, after which I spend 2-3 weeks editing. I find reading my book as a ‘real’ book (printed) helps me to see it in another light. When I have edited my proof, I will order another set of proofs for beta readers and then again for the proof reader. I usually give the proofreader 2 weeks.
Your book in chunks
When I look at what needs to be done in a book, I first consider, my overall goal and then the big chunks (e.g. the plan) followed by the smaller chunks (e.g. the outline). Each chunk is given a priority and a date deadline.
- STEP 1: PLAN — The the book plan, ideal reader, what questions they are asking, the outline, chapter framework, and the writing plan
- STEP 2: PEN — Getting to the first draft, breaking it down chapter by chapter.
- STEP 3: EDIT — Chunking this down and working from an editing plan
- STEP 4: PUBLISH — Cover design, interior format, publish on Amazon
- STEP 5: LAUNCH — Step by step launch plan
- STEP 6: PROMOTE – Marketing activities that ensure that your book is seen and talked about and purchased.
But first, how do we find the time to get all of this done so that we hit our publishing date?
The time stealer
Working out how long it will all take in a perfect world is all well and good. However, procrastination and time stealers are the enemies of the writer. For everyone who hates planning, just swap TV time for writing time. Have a go at working out where your wasted time is.
Ask yourself how long do I take doing unimportant things that take me away from my writing? Is there a pattern to my time-wasting activities? It will be interesting to see where you waste or use your time. In your journal make a list of what you have been up to and rate each activity. Scarey right?
Your writing timetable
No two people write in the same way, so you need to find a way that works just for you. Whatever that way is, it is perfect. When we want to go somewhere, we use a map.
To find out what your map is, it would be useful to understand how another writer writes and notice his or her patterns. In a perfect world, we should be able to interview, watch and fully understand how an expert writer operates. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world, and you may not have access to other writers.
This means that you will have to map out what you do and how you do it. Analyse it and work out how you can become more effective and efficient in the process or accept the way in which you do things and make allowances. Remember, you are not alone, and there are always tools, people and resources which you can call on for help.
To work out what your process is you must walk through all the steps that you take.
The key now is to think about how you will get the most value out of your writing process. What works for me is to use my chapter synopsis and to tackle a chapter at a time. I start by mapping out what I think I want to write about using a ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what if’ framework (more on that later).
I look at keywords, key messages, concepts and calls to action and I consider how it fits together and flows. Then I brainstorm blog ideas. I brainstorm my blogs the evening before as I believe that what I need to write will become clear to me in the morning.
In the morning I will write until it’s time to walk the dogs, which gives me reflection time. I like to batch write. When I am blogging a book, I do a 30-day blogging challenge so that I get at least 30,000 words written. Because I am chunking the book and getting lots written in a short period I am motivated and inspired.
Important factors to be a productive writer
You need discipline – full stop. Sometimes it is very difficult being disciplined and getting on with your plan, writing or editing. The dog needs walking, the kids need feeding, and your clothes need ironing! Look at your writing plan, the number of words you set yourself and the time you allowed. Stick to it, and you will create a habit. When you have created a habit, this will be hard to break. Consider the behavioural patterns that you have, understand yourself and try to flex your style.
Let your important people know that you need time and space to write. Give yourself permission to take the time out to write. Let them know when you will be free again.
Creating THE right environment for you
Where gives you the most peace to write? If your space is not right, with the best will in the world, writing will become a chore. Turn all the noise off; that means phones, the internet and any other distraction. Do you need to go to a coffee shop or sit in a cafe? Is there a space in your home that is just right for you? What about a certain chair or room? Only you will know. For me it’s in bed in the morning.
Right frame of mind
Your mindset may be fixed with certain beliefs about your ability to write this book. I want you to challenge that fixed system, take a hammer to it and shatter it. Using the power of positive thought is well documented. Feeling positive about yourself and your book is no different and will result in successful outcomes. Where you focus your thoughts, actions will follow, and consistent actions lead to great habits.
Breathe and meditate, just let your unconscious mind go free. Settle and ground yourself. Ask yourself, what do you have to do to get into the right frame of mind? What I love about blogging a book is that you get a daily reward for each blog that you publish and you see your book growing at the same time.
Factor in stop and think times. Sometimes procrastination is just the way our brains are saying – ‘I’ve had enough, just for now.’ Stop and reflect often.
Diary, to-do list or timetable
Where are you going to record the dates and times for your writing timetable? Using your day-to-day digital diary is great as you have a visual of when. What will work for you? Don’t forget your writing buddy, who can call to check that you have done your writing.
Tackle your to do list the night before
At the end of the day work on your outlines and to-do’s. The key is to just choose 3 things that you are going to do. Each morning I write a goal in my journal and the 3 things I am going to do that day. I focus on getting a reward early on in my day, as this sets me up for the rest of the day.
Decide on your writing times
It doesn’t matter when you do this, just make it your writing time. What works for me is first thing in the morning before I do anything else. What would work for you?
Don’t cram too much into your writing week
Outside of your blogging challenge find a way to manage your time so that you enjoy the process of writing and blogging. During the challenge you are focused on 30 blogs in 30 days. Outside of that you may blog 2-3 times per week.
Plan in planning and learning time
I love using my chapter synopsis and brainstorming blog ideas from that. I also factor in time to learn how to blog or write better. You could factor in one to two things to learn a month.
Don’t over plan – be flexible
With the best will in the world sometimes planning will overwhelm you. I always do the plan, create the structure and then go with the flow. Remember life happens and done is better than perfect.
What can you automate?
You can’t automate your writing, but you can automate other tasks. Work out what you can automate or delegate so that you can focus on what you do best.
Use a calendar for your blog and book plan
When I have outlined my chapter and brainstormed what blogs I am going to write I put these into my blogging calendar. This is different to my normal everyday Google calendar which is my go to for everything else. I factor in dog walks and downtime. My publication date goes into my calendar as do my other milestones.
Try the Pomodoro Technique (aka the power of the chunk)
The Pomodoro Technique is a method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. By using a timer you break down periods of work into short chunks of activity of 25 minutes maximum, separated by short breaks. It’s called Pomodoro because the timer was shaped like a tomoato. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. Sounds easy right? I love chunking so this works well for me.
When you get to writing your blogs you will find this useful. I recommend writing your blogs in chunks.
- Look at your task list and select the highest priority from it – this might be to outline your chapter or blogs for that chapter – although I would tend to do this the night before
- Set the timer for 25 minutes and start to work, stay focused on just that task until the timer pings. That’s one tomato done.
- Take a 5 minute break and do the next task. This might be to write your first blog.
- Repeat until your task is completed.
- After four 25 minute sets take a longer break.
- Calculate how many words you can write in an hour / a half-day and day
- Learn the best way for you to get your writing done – what works for you and stick to it
- Calculate how many words you have targeted for this book
- Decide on a starting date
- Ask what activities get in your way and find strategies to overcome them
- Decide when you want to be published
- Create a writing timetable
- Work out how you will chunk your writing and blogging tasks
Blog your book in 30 days course and challenge
Look out for the next 30-day blogging challenge so that you can fast write your book.
If blogging your book in 30 days feels too much take the Blog Your Book course and join the blogging group and share when you have a blog for your book ready to go.
How To Write A Brilliant Book
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