Want to make more money from your writing? Here’s the answer: write more. Over the years, I’ve discovered that the trick is to write more than you think you can write, but back off just before you exhaust yourself.
If you write more than you think you can, you’ll be inspired – you’ll get more and better ideas. But if you wear yourself out, you’ll burn out. In the 1990s I took on more book contracts than I could handle, and wrote 15 hours a day for weeks. I ended up with RSI, and my overall productivity dropped for months.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to write more than you’re writing at the moment, these tips will help.
1. Write First, Every Day: Start Your Day Writing, Not Reading Email
Occasionally, I hit the Snooze button on my phone and don’t get out of bed at 5AM. Whenever this happens, I know that my productivity for the day is shot. To prevent my “snooze” tendency, I usually leave my phone on my dressing table, well out of reach.
When you write first in the morning, for an hour or longer, without distraction, it seems to set your brain into a “writing” mode for the rest of the day. I find, and my students do too, that the minor hassle of stumbling out of bed early is worth it. But it’s not always easy. 🙂
2. Handwrite. Your Journals Help You to Visualize, So That You Can Produce
You don’t need to handwrite everything, of course, but I’ve found that grabbing a legal pad, and jotting some notes, or drawing a mind map, or even just doodling, before I use the keyboard ensures that I write more, and more easily.
I talked about starting with an image when you outline fiction. Handwriting seems to have a similar effect, triggering your creative right brain.
3. See Your Writing Projects as Completed Before You Start Writing
This trick is so simple, I’m almost embarrassed to mention it. Before you start writing, close your eyes, and see the project completed. See yourself hitting the Send button to shoot the project to your client, or see your ebook for sale on Amazon.
Anatole France said: “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
4. Exercise Daily to Reduce Stress – Don’t Listen to Music When You Exercise. Let Your Mind Roam
You don’t need to become a gym rat, but do some exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Keep going for 20 to 30 minutes, whatever form of exercise you choose. And don’t listen to music or audio books – even if you’re bored. 🙂
Boredom is the “write more” trick – as soon as you become bored with mindless repetition, your mind roams, and gets creative. You’ll come up with some wonderful ideas.
5. Add Pressure by Promising to Deliver. Then, Deliver
If you’ve got a tendency to procrastinate: make public promises, and keep them.
For client projects, this is easy. You’ve got a contract: that’s both a promise and a deadline. It’s not so easy for your own projects – marketing, blogging, or writing ebooks.
Create your own deadlines. Then find someone who will hold you accountable. If you’re blogging, you can announce that you’ll blog once a week on the blog itself. If you’re marketing, or writing ebooks, get a writing buddy. Promise your buddy that you’ll deliver on a project: you’ll publish the ebook by a certain date.
Create a penalty for failing to deliver on a promise. You might promise a client 25 per cent off if you miss your deadline. You can promise to take your writing buddy out to dinner somewhere elegant (and expensive) if you miss your deadline.
Try these five productivity tricks. They work. Have fun. 🙂
Resources to build your writing career
Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.
Today, the opportunities for writers have never been greater. Back in the day a writer who was making six-figures a year seemed a creature of myth. These days, highly successful writers are making six figures a month.More info →