Revving Up Your Writing Productivity
Productivity begins by recognizing and valuing your
brilliance, time, and space. It starts with awareness of
what works and what does not. It continues with examining
what needs grease, or other needs. Search for the truth for
what you need in order to rev up your writing.
1. Long to-do lists. Long to-do lists can be emotionally
draining without even knowing it-- even overwhelming and
paralyzing at times. We all know it's important to set our
priorities. To reduce its negative efforts on our psychic
it is important to limit your to-do list to only what you
have time to accomplish for that day. It is also important
to be specific about what part of a long-term project can
you accomplish that day as well. If you write down, "work
on my ebook for 12 hours this week" it holds a different
energy than, "work on my ebook for 1 hour today."
Fieldwork: Break down the bigger projects into daily doable
chunks so you get that "accomplishment high" of checking
them off. This is also a quiet but effective motivator.
Try it, you'll see.
Every morning review your to-do list. Get honest with your
time. If you only have one hour and your list requires
three, don't set yourself up for feeling like a failure
because you didn't things completed. Move and reschedule
the other two items. By getting honest with your time, and
commitments, you begin to see higher productivity as well.
If you complete your list sooner, just pull from the next
day, and you will feel like you are ahead of the game
instead of behind the eight ball.
2.Plan. Before you begin to write, create a quick one
page writing plan. The writing plan can be just for that
day or just that particular writing time. It only takes
five or ten minutes after you get use to creating one.
Fieldwork: Start with recording what your vision is for
that writing time or project. See the end result, feel it,
and it will become a reality. Is it an e-mail, printed and
mailed, or uploaded to your web site? Or is it a simple
warm up or exercise to increase your writing skills? See it
completed with as much detail as possible.
Next, what is your writing mission in eight words or less?
Continuing on...What is your writing objective or
objectives, strategy and plan?
Like I said earlier, it doesn't have to be anything fancy.
I've done many on napkins or several Post-It notes that were
If defining a whole writing project, you might want to
create something more permanent. What matters is clarity
and the picture of the end result. As Dr. Stephen Covey
says in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, "Begin with
the end in mind." Meaning begin with a vision of what the
result looks like and feels like.
3. Leverage your time. If you can pay someone else to do
less money than what you charge, delegate it. If your
brilliance is stronger in writing and not typing or editing,
stick with the writing. Hire out the typing and editing.
If you are thinking you can't afford it, then you haven't
found a way to value your time and your plan is off. You
may most likely not be working on your right priorities.
Fieldwork: Check and rework your plan so that you leverage
your time. Be honest with your self and what is your
brilliance. Only one item contains the highest energy, the
others may come class, but one stands out. Focus on that
one and watch the miracles occur. Who else can do the other
items so you can stay focused on your brilliance?
4. Process -- a series of actions bringing about a result.
Prolific writers use many processes that range from how they
write -- ink, tape recorded, voice recognition software,
stenographer, court reporter -- to everything else that
requires to complete their goal.
Fieldwork: What are your processes? Draw a flow chart of
your writing process, editing, sales or marketing, filing or
any other processes that accompany your writing. In each
area, ask yourself, "What can be completed easier and
faster?" Can an interactive form on your web site save you
time? Would an interactive appointment process save you
time? Can a virtual assistant provide support? When asking
questions, let cost aside, and allow all possibilities to
5. Systems -- a group of interrelated elements. What is
your backup plan for operating without electricity? What
system backs you up when your bridge line collapses in the
middle of a class? What system do you use if your hard
drive fails or heaven's forbid there's a fire? What systems
require backup plans, what can slide, and for how long? How
do you communicate your backup plans to others?
Fieldwork: Make a list of your systems and then create some
6. Support. Do you have a support team? Who do you call
to pass on a project that you prefer not to do or you are
too busy to handle? What about when your editor or editors
are on vacation or busy themselves with other projects? Do
your editors understand your topics? Example: If you are a
coach, does your editor understand coaching? If an engineer
or accountant, do they understand the lingo? Do they need
to? Do you have a hardware technician or two available?
Software specialists? Can they come on short notice?
Fieldwork: Make a list of support personnel and add names
to each of those areas.
7. What are your power writing hours? They change
frequently. What works on Mondays may not on Thursday
because you are sleep deprived by this time every week.
Fieldwork: Track your power hour patterns for a few weeks.
Also record what affects any changes, like a TV-show you
stayed up late to watch. Heavy meals late at night. Look
for the patterns and then make new choices that create big
changes in your writing production.
8. Do whatever it takes to stay unconfused. Too many
thoughts flying around in the old noggin? Try this system
that I adore when this occurs.
Fieldwork: Create a make-shift white board if you don't
have one. Use the side of a bookcase, picture, or semi-
glass wall. Using Post-It notes, write one idea per note,
and paste them up. Stand back and take a large picture
view. What is appearing? Move them around according to
your needs. What do you see? Nothing, give it some space
and return and take another look. Keep moving, adding or
deleting until patterns and pictures appear.
9. Exit plan. What is your exit plan for the writing or
project? Do you plan to get out if something occurs? What
is your measurement when you no longer want to be a
freelance writer, what to move on to something else, or even
just use writing in a different manner? If you are writing
an ebook, what happens if it isn't making any money? When
do you say, that's enough effort on this, write it up to
experience, learn from it, and begin spending your energy on
Fieldwork: Never take any new project one, until you know
what your exit plan is for it. Practice writing them even
if they are a sentence or two. This shifts your thinking
that stuff is forever because nothing is.
10. Environments do affect your writing. It might not
matter if it's well-organized. Do you have different areas
or places that provide different energy for different types
of writing? Do you prefer to sit in a garden to write a
garden article? Then again, you may prefer to sit in your
car. Can you sit in a bookstore to write one way? In the
library, another? The kids playing loudly for another?
Totally quiet for yet another?
Fieldwork: Know what environment fuels what type of writing
for you. Make a list, then plan your writing around those
environments. Notice as your topics change so will the
environments need to change.
Reviving up your writing productivity begins with you --
good communication internally and externally. My friends
tell me that they can recognize the gleam in my eye when
something is taking form so they allow me space without
interruption to take record my thoughts. Is this what you
need? If productivity needs revving. Think, what it is and
ask for it.
About the Author
Catherine Franz is a business coach and prolific writer.