18 Tips to Become a Prolific Writer
It is like a drug – the more you write, the more you want to write. For some, writing a thousand words in a day is an achievement they want to reach. For others, this is nothing. Those who love to write always wish to be able to write more, but don’t always succeed.
The expectations and habits might differ from one writer to the other, but there is one common enemy that makes us all fail – procrastination. And it isn’t just the enemy of writers. It is the enemy of creative people and professionals, and basically every person striving to achieve something.
‘’Failing to look at writing as a skill you can improve rather than just a talent is the biggest mistake you can make as a writer. To do it well, you need to work on it. Just like with every other thing in your life.’’ – says Isobel Karen, writer at the EssayGeeks Case Study service. To be able to beat this procrastination and find a way to write more, you need to learn to focus and so here are eighteen tricks to write more and become a prolific writer.
1. Divide and Conquer.
This rule applies to many things in life, including your goal to write more. The most common culprit for procrastination may be laziness, but there is also a lack of organization and the fear that we will fail a task. Both these things can make you put things off or write slower than you wish for.
There’s one common solution that can be applied to all solutions and in most cases, it is just the thing you needed to get your writing juices flow – divide the writing. If you wish to make this better and in a larger quantity, you need to make it more manageable. That being said, if you divide every daunted task into smaller tasks and finish them one by one, you will conquer your writer’s block. Organizing your ideas and outlining ahead might be helpful. Some people like to sketch them out or write them in notes, but apps such as Scapple can help you draw out a great outline on your computer.
2. Start Right Away.
Start right after reading this. Start first thing in the morning. Set a goal for yourself, even a tiny goal, and finish it right away. This should motivate you to keep going and give you a feeling that your job isn’t done. It will keep you reminded and productive throughout the day, and get you right back to your writing when you need to continue.
3. Take Many, Many Breaks.
You probably believe that too many breaks only steal the time you can spend to write more, but this cannot be more inaccurate. Writing is a hard task on your brain, which means that it will need some rest from time to time. Therefore, setting a specific time after which you will take a break is the best thing you can do for your productivity and your work. A short break in between writing will make you sharper and better, which in return will speed up your writing and help you write more. If you want to learn more on how to time your breaks, this article on the Pomodoro technique will be more than helpful, and it comes with apps and resources.
4. Find a Way to Work Without Your Computer.
You are probably working on your computer, which can be exhausting and rather boring to your brain. So, try to mix up things a bit. This doesn’t mean that you should stop working, but try to find a way to work without the computer, at least for a bit.
Take a paper and a pen and brainstorm without your computer. Write your outline on a notepad before you actually start using it to do your writing. This should give your brain a refreshment and the much-needed break from the computer screen.
5. Set a Timer.
A timer is a long-used technique and it isn’t going away any time soon. This timer can help you measure the time you spend working, remind you to take a break, as well as help you keep up with your schedule. If you pinpoint the amount of time you need to spend on your writing and turn on a timer with this goal in mind, the idea of having your time measured will keep you focused and motivated to reach that final tick with your writing. There are online apps that help you get writing by making you set a time and word limit, and if you don’t write in them, it starts erasing words, keeping you on your toes and helping you reach your goal. One example of that is Write or Die.
6. Learn to Prioritize.
…And to delegate. Prioritize the things you have to do instead of writing and do them. For the rest, delegate a bit. Put things off until they absolutely need to be done. Set writing as one of your priorities and follow your order. If you learn to look at writing as something that must be done instead of something you can put off, you can finally focus on it and write more. Here’s an article that might help you figure out your life’s priorities and sort them out.
7. Stop Multi-Tasking.
When it is time for you to take a break, take a break. Don’t take notes in between. When you need to write, write. Don’t talk on the phone or check your social media. Distractions are your biggest enemy when it comes to your writing career or tasks. With that in mind, you should do everything in your power to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. This means removing the distractions, finding the perfect place, and simply getting yourself ready to do the job you plan to do. Nothing else in between.
8. Turn Off That Distracting Internet.
If you need it to write, then turn off your phone notifications, social media, or simply block everything else except for what you need. There are many apps and tools that can help you do this, but the initiator must be you. The internet is now the biggest distraction for writers, so if you want to write more, it is time to stop checking those e-mails or social media profiles, and actually focus on your writing.
9. Repurpose Your Time.
This is the most important thing you need to do if you want to write more – organize. To be able to do all the things we’ve discussed so far, you need to have a good schedule where you set your writing tasks and aspirations. If you have a set goal for how much writing you need to do in a day, as well as a reasonable schedule that lines up all that work, all of this is possible.
Take a look at your schedule and start repurposing. There are probably many non-productive things and times during the day that you can spend on writing. Use them wisely. Another way to be productive is to keep things arranged while having an organizer is helpful, an organizer you can use on both your computer and your phone would be very practical and can keep everything on track as well as send reminders. One of the great ones out there would be Trello.
Yes, daydream. Getting enough sleep is good for your brain and keeps you focused on your work, but daydreaming is the closest you can get to it when you simply cannot find the time to sleep. Whether you take a direct approach toward your writing or you outline it, you need to daydream about your writing. Do it while you are folding clothes, doing the dishes, or working out. Whenever you can let your mind daydream about the writing, use that time. That way, you won’t have to outline when you get to your writing, which leaves you more time to actually write more.
11. Bribe Yourself.
Bribe yourself to keep yourself motivated. Not just awards when you finish a written piece, but actual, small bribes right in the middle of it. When nothing is working for you and you keep losing your focus, give yourself some bribes to motivate your brain to keep working.
A bribe can be anything from a cup of hot chocolate to an episode of your favorite TV show. Set a small goal and a reward when you reach it. You are doing an excellent job, so there’s nothing bad in pampering yourself.
12. Don’t be Lazy.
The times when you got up at three o’clock in the afternoon are now good. If you have done this, you know that you can’t really achieve a lot when you spend half the day sleeping. So, it is time to set a healthy, productive sleep routine.
Productive people get up early in the morning and start working right away. This is the time when other people sleep and go to work, so you have a distraction-free timeframe to do your writing. Don’t waste it sleeping.
Still, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need your quality sleep. You always need it if you want to be focused. The trick is to set a healthy routine where you go to bed early and get up early. Even on weekends.
13. Read Voraciously.
There is simply no great writer who isn’t reading. By reading, you learn. When you read, you get inspired. So, if you want to keep your motivational, writing juices flowing and write more, you need to read voraciously.
Reading does many things for you. It makes you empathic, helps you improve your language skills and writing abilities, and gives you access to a creativity and ideas you wouldn’t have reached otherwise.
14. Plan Your Writing Sessions.
Plan each and every of your writing sessions, including breaks and bribes. You can be flexible about it later, but you need a plan before you get started. This plan will push you to start writing and meet the deadline, as well as help you determine how much you can actually write in a day.
Don’t start writing without a plan if you want to learn how to write more. To write more, you need to plan and find the time to do it. It is only then that you can actually make it happen. Consider this your plan toward writing success.
15. Block Out Distractions.
The laptop might be an enemy of your productivity, but many things can affect your writing. It can be the TV, your family, the lighting, the temperature, and even the things around you. If your room is messy, it can keep you from concentrating on your writing. If people who live with you are loud or you sit in a room where they watch the TV, this won’t help you with your focus. So, if you want to actually write and write more, it is time to drown everything out. One software that can help you focus on writing without any distractions on your screen is Scrivener, one of its features helps you open your novel on the full screen with a black background to keep you focused.
16. Learn to Touch Type.
Have you heard of touch typing? If you write on a keyboard, you should definitely learn this. Touch typing can make all the difference between writing slowly and writing quickly. When you do it well, you are writing quicker and therefore are able to write more in less time.
The trick in touch typing lies in different things. First, you need to use all the fingers when you are typing. Secondly, you need to not look at the keyboard. And finally, you need to do it automatically. It is basically like driving a car – you know which foot goes where when it is time to use your brake.
17. Write Without Editing.
All writers need to edit their work before they can say: it is ready. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to do it while you are writing, at least not with the first draft. Editing while writing takes up time, but it also takes your focus away. This can make you stray from the topic, lose focus, and most importantly, lose your thought.
So, let your thoughts flow. Stop editing. There is time to edit and it is not while you are doing your first round of writing. One writing ‘program’ to follow that will help you to keep on writing without thinking about editing would be NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). When you sign up to be part of this writing competition, your goal is to reach 50,000 words, the last thing you’ll think about would be editing.
18. Stop Overthinking.
Overthinking the ideas is one of your biggest enemies. Not every idea you will have is going to be great. In fact, most of them won’t be. Only a few ideas are great ideas. However, having ideas is what makes you a great writer and if you want to write more, you need to give your ideas a shot.
So, stop overthinking it. Run with them. Even silly ideas can inspire something better, something amazing. Just go with it and see where it takes you.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, if you want to write more, you need to make yourself write more. All of the tips above share ideas, tricks you can use to boost your productivity and remove procrastination from your life. So, when you are ready to finally write more, all it takes is the determination to go through them all.