If you’ve made daily writing a habit, but you’re not satisfied with your output, maybe you’re spending too much time on the wrong kind of writing, like journaling and emails. Maybe you’re tackling profitable writing but not in the quantity you need.
You’re right to be concerned about quantity. Like any creative endeavor, the more you produce the more successes you will have. If ten percent of what you write is a hit and you only write 10 books, you’ll be a one hit wonder. Write 100 books and you’re becoming a celebrity.
Limiting Non-Productive Writing
Even when what you are writing isn’t profitable to you, it is still writing. You shouldn’t cut it out entirely. All writing is good practice at your craft and at increasing your daily output. What you need to do is limit the amount of time you spend on it.
For emails, set a limit to the number of lines you will write in each one. If you write a long one, go back and edit it down to your maximum size. Limit how often you check your emails too. Once a day is plenty. If you get a lot of emails that require the same basic response, create a template for that response. Just copy and paste your canned response and edit for the particular case. Even better, write your default response as your email signature and cut out what you don’t need when responding to each user. I do this myself with an update of what’s up with me in the signature. Before answering a batch of emails, I update the signature and half my work is done for me. If you’re getting a lot of mail because you have a home business, several response templates may be the way to go.
Journaling can also be a time waster. It’s too easy to continue typing away and thinking you’re getting lots of writing done when nobody will ever read it. Keep your journal handy while you’re working on other things and as thoughts come up jot them in the journal. Then get back to the important writing.
Reading about writing can keep you busy all day. Unless it inspires you to start writing, save it for after you’re done writing.
Avoid over planning your writing. It’s easy to plan so many writing projects that you forget what the first ones were about. Make a list of projects and then finish the list before starting work on another. Put future projects in a second list.
If you must track your progress in a spreadsheet, keep it simple. You’re tracking too much if you need to scroll to see all the data.
Multi tasking is another bad idea. Nobody can truly multi task. One task or the other is always in focus. You’re better off dealing with each separately.
If you’re distracted by all of the other applications on your computer you can either limit the number you’ll have open at a time or use a full screen word processing program.
If you’re distracted by ideas for more writing projects you should be putting those in a file. Weren’t you doing that already?
Defining Productive Writing
It may seem silly to increase the amount you write if you can’t keep up the quality. But it’s not. The more you write the better you will get at it. It’s the old adage, “practice makes perfect”.
To write more, you will need to shut off your internal editor. You don’t need to be writing for long to know that nothing you write is going to be perfect on the first draft. Stop trying to make it perfect. Accept that there will be a lot of bad writing and you’re going to fix it on the next draft. Once you get your mind around that concept, your writing speed will take off.
Steps to Increase Productive Writing
Write What You Know
One of the easiest ways to write more is to write about something you already know. When you write about subjects you’ve never studied or had any interest in, you need to research. That takes away from writing time. Another plus about writing what you already know is that you have enthusiasm for the subject and that will show through in your writing.
Get An Audience
Another way to write more is to have an audience. It can be worthwhile to get a free blog at WordPress or Blogger. Articles you post on your free blog can’t be sold to a publisher later (not with first publication rights) because they’ve already been published. It will be up to you to decide on the priority of your articles and pick which are for the blog and which for other targets. If your goal is to make money with a website, a free blog may still be the best way to start out while you build an audience.
Break Down Complex Articles
Beware of the condensed article. Sometimes you will come up with an article so broad that it is really several articles. Don’t do it. Don’t put in the time necessary to write an article suitable for a university course. Nobody will thank you for it. If you’re writing a blog article to fit the usual 500 to 2000 word limit, it will take too much time to make a complex article fit in. You’re better off breaking it into separate articles. It will take about the same amount of time to do the writing and you will have more posts completed.
To repeat, simplify your posts. Focus on a narrow specific topic.
Making Writing More Into a Life Goal
As with anything you really want, make writing more material one of your life goals. If it’s not a life goal, why do you want to write more? Maybe you should write less. If it is a life goal it’s something you should be doing every day. If you go for writing 5000 words a day right from the start, you’re not going to stick with it. That’s too much to keep up. Start with a small goal like 500 words a day. When you’re able to keep that up consistently for a month or more raise the target to 1000 words a day. Gradually increase the target until either you’re satisfied with the amount, the target is too high to hit daily or it’s taking too much time away from the rest of your life. Once you’ve found a stable target, keep it there and do a yearly re-evaluation. With steady writing you will continue to get faster and better.
Have a Prolific Writing Day or Week
A prolific writing day is a day where you spend every possible moment of the day writing. You need to have some plan for what you’re going to do ahead of time. You won’t get much done if you’re staring at a blank page wondering what to write. Even better is a prolific writing week, called Book In A Week by writing clubs. If you can fill every spare moment of a week with writing, it’s possible you could finish the first draft of a book. If articles are more your speed, imagine how many you could complete in a week of steady writing. Having one of these every few months can really get your writing speed up and give you a nice amount of output to bolster your feeling of accomplishment.
Write More Articles
If you’re writing articles you may want to increase the number of articles you write without necessarily increasing the word count. If your articles are at least 500 words that is usually an acceptable length for blog articles and directory submissions. When you find you’re writing an article that has gone over 1000 words, look it over and consider whether you can break it down into two or more articles. Once it’s broken up you will have some re-writing to do and may need to add more for each article but the payoff is worth it.
Take on More Projects
When you only have one project on the go, sticking with it can be tough. This is especially so with a book project. You spend a lot of time on it and even have a high daily word count and still feel like you’re not making progress. With more projects you can switch between major and minor effort tasks. You can also cover multiple subjects when you have many projects. The reason you’re a writer is because you have a lot of interests, right? Explore those interests. Indulge yourself and if you happen to also be able to make money from your interests by submitting the finished writing, that’s even better. Sometimes your initial articles on a topic feel amateur but as you research and write more they will become professional.
If you read more about increasing your writing on the web, you will find articles that say you need to write five to ten articles a day if you want to succeed. With practice you might write that much in a day but it isn’t necessary to go that far to succeed. Some people earn thousands of dollars a month from their websites and only write one article every day or two. Start with what you can accomplish and your productivity will naturally increase with practice.
Article by Ivan Izo.