When writing is your bread and butter, many things affect your productivity, which also affects how much money you make. Some may say that lack of inspiration is the number one struggle writers have, but really, it’s a general lack of time.
Being a successful writer means finding time in your day to write even when it seems like there is none. So, here are some tips for new writers to 10 x your productivity so you can make more money.
1. Make Yourself Write Every Day
Once I seriously started writing for a living, I vowed to write every day. That seemed like a difficult task at the time, but between client work and my own blog, I’ve written every day for the past three years now.
Make writing a part of your daily routine. You can’t wait for inspiration or when the mood hits. Writing should be as routine as making coffee or cooking supper. You may need to schedule it in with your other work or chores.
The best way to be a more productive writer is to make yourself write more.
2. Choose the Right Writing Environment that Helps You Focus
Some people like to write in silence others like music. I personally write with the tv on. Some people could never be productive with the tv on, but I can’t listen to music because I want to sing along with every song.
Your office should also be a place that helps you be more productive. For some people, that may be tranquility, while others want a vibrant environment. Some writers work best in noisy coffee shops instead of home.
I’m someone that is affected by clutter as well, which is amusing since my desk is never clean. I have a quiet house while other people have a family that makes it challenging to work at home.
If you fall into this category, you can find a co-working space in your time where you can go several times a week that allows you to focus more on your work. Studies over the years show that many freelancers thrive in these membership-based workspaces.
But find out what works for you and stick with that. It’s going to be different for every person.
3. Try Using a Time Management Tool
If you’re an app hoarder, this may not work for you because a time management tool can only help you if you actually use it. The Pomodoro Technique is a simple tool you can use with the timer on your smartphone.
First, you choose a task and then set the timer for 25 minutes. Then you work on that task for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, put a checkmark on a piece of paper. After that, take a short five or ten-minute break. Once you do four pomodoros, you get to take a longer break for 20 or 30 minutes.
This is one tip for new writers that many people swear by this technique because it breaks more difficult tasks into manageable pieces. It’s much easier to get a writing or business-related project done when you break it down. If you tell yourself that you have to sit in a chair 5 hours straight, you’re going to have a hard time being productive.
You can also look at time management apps and tools; just be cautious about relying on one of them if it doesn’t actually help you be productive.
4. The Best Writers are Avid Readers
It’s probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this statement. And it’s one of the best tips for new writers. The best writers are avid readers. Reading ensures that you’re continually learning even if it’s just about how to write better or different writing styles. I often find myself picking up one of my favorite novels to check out how an author wrote a chapter when I’m working on my book.
You also learn more about the details of writing, like transitions and phrases. We often don’t think of these details because we pick them up subconsciously. Reading also shows exposes you to other creative works and new ideas.
The most significant benefit to this is you learn new expressions and words that make your writing unique and crisp.
5. Time Block
Time blocking is one of my favorite time management strategies. You can pair it with batching to seriously amp up your productivity. If you block off specific time throughout your day for similar activities, you’ll get more done.
Batching allows you to get more done because you’re working on similar tasks without switching to something different that interrupts the thought process. An example would be writing blog articles. You could spend a block of time researching the articles and keyword research. Another block of time, you could spend writing a group of block posts.
Blocking off time for specific tasks that are similar helps you get more things done in less time because you don’t waste time shifting the mental gears in your head, then you would if you skip from task to different tasks. It’s like getting more hours back in your day, and that’s a win for sure.
Time batching eliminates multitasking because while we may all think that multitasking helps us get more done, the reality is that it doesn’t. The New Yorker reported on a psychological study that illustrated that the majority of people who think they are successful multitaskers really aren’t—a whopping 98 percent.
I’ve tested my ability to multitask, and sadly it has greatly diminished since my younger twenties. Right now, I like to design pins in batches instead of writing a new article, make Pinterest pins, write another article, design new pins for it, etc. It goes much faster when I create the pins all in one batch.
6. Write at Your Best Time
Everyone has a time of day that they are most productive. Use that as your designated writing time. I’m not an early riser at all, so when someone tells me I can be more productive getting up early, now that’s just not me. I think part of getting more done when you get up earlier in the morning can be contributed to the 9-5 schedule that is routine for many people. Or a daylight schedule.
I worked shift work most of my adult life, mainly nightshift. I love nightshift, and that’s natural for my body. I’ve never been an early riser even as a kid. I can often be found watching lessons from a course at 3 in the morning.
The key is to find the specific time of day that works best for you. It might be 6 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon.
7. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Like any relationship we have, you can get too comfortable. Over time you may get bored in that relationship, so you need to spice it up—the same works with writing.
Too many distractions and a familiar environment can prevent you from writing faster. Go somewhere else, whether that’s outside, a coffee shop, or cabin in the woods. When you go somewhere just to write, you get that done much faster.
8. Speak Don’t Write
This is one of the few tips for new writers that don’t work for me, but many people swear by it because you can talk faster than you can write or type. The average person types 38-40 words per minute. The more you write, the quicker you’ll type. It’s true, I’ve improved, but the average speaks 130 words a minute.
And I know that I just told said most people can’t multitask, but you can dictate your writing while doing another activity that doesn’t require much thought like doing laundry or washing the dishes. The key is the other task can require much thought process.
I’ve tried to dictate a blog article, but I was slow at it because it required more of a thought process for me than writing.
PRO TIP: Get Dragon Speech Recognition Software or use the note app on your phone. Also, most computers have a speech recognition app, as well.
9. Breaks are Critical for Better Productivity
By breaks, I mean take time out in between tasks as well as taking a couple of days off from your work. Yes, you can still write every day even on days off. Work on something other than client work on some days.
Burnout is a real thing and when you work from home, it’s easier to burn out because your work is always there. It’s not like you can leave it for the weekend like you do at a traditional job. I’m forever on my computer, but after hitting a wall recently, I realized that I had to slow down.
If you burn yourself out, you may not have the reserves to get work done when you’re on a deadline without serious physical or psychological harm. It’s probably one of the most critical tips for new writers you need to remember.
10. Find an Accountability Partner
Many writers often work in a lonely vortex, but to be genuinely productive, you need someone to hold you accountable. Having an accountability partner that shares similar goals also ensures that you finish the tasks that you need to. When no one else knows your goals, it’s easier to let them slide because the only person your letting is YOU.
PRO TIP: An accountability partner not only challenges you; they can provide vital and honest feedback on your writing. So, you want someone you trust and feel comfortable with—someone other than your mom. ?
11. Give Yourself the Incentive to Write
Hey, it worked when you were a kid, and your mom gave you an allowance for chores, right? So, turn your writing into a game and not something you wake up dreading.
You can incentivize writing in several ways, but one example would be to set a word count and then a reward you get when you reach that word count. Whatever motivates you, it might be food like an ice cream treat or a new book.
Those treats can get expensive over time, so you can also set your reward in terms of time. For instance, if you write 2,000 words, you get to read a good book for half an hour more that day. Make it something that’s not too expensive or time-consuming but still a treat at the same time.
Even if you only apply a few of these tips for new writers, you’ll likely see an increase in your productivity and, as a result, maybe some more free time. Plus, the more productive you are, the more money you can make because you can take on more writing projects or work on the parts of your business that make you money.