Tuesday, February 17, 2015

9 Writing Productivity Mistakes to Avoid

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Productivity Tips for Writers.
There are a lot of tasks we must master as we make writing a priority. But with these additional tasks, our productivity may drop. 

Learning how to juggle this multi-tasking is part of becoming a professional writer. 

Today I’d like to share 9 Productivity Mistakes to Avoid.

1. Multi-tasking. This one is a biggie. Yes, we have a lot of things we must do from, writing, to editing, to marketing. But it’s not an efficient use of our time if we try to do everything all at once.

Watch out for unlimited web-browsing.
2. Unlimited web-browsing. We definitely need to build an online platform, but spending hours surfing the web isn’t the way to do it.

3. Not scheduling your time. The way to get all the various tasks done that need to be done is by scheduling our time. Find the most creative time and guard it for your writing first. Then work around that time for the other tasks you have to do.

4. Avoiding the hard stuff. It’s only human nature to want to do the easy things first. But that’s not always the most efficient use of our time. Come up with a schedule, then do the tasks that are scheduled, whether they’re hard or easy.

5. Talking instead of working. Writers are like anyone else, we’re passionate about our craft. But we need to make sure we’re spending time practicing our craft, not just talking about it.

6. Not networking. We shouldn't spend all our time talking about writing, but that doesn't mean we should isolate ourselves. Others can give us much needed perspective and insight into things we're struggling with. 

No cheating allowed.
7. Using cheating as a reward. It’s great to build in rewards, but make sure the rewards aren’t sabotaging your progress. For example, if I’m on a diet and I lose five pounds, I don’t want to reward myself with a calorie-laden meal. With writing, if I make my word count goal, I want to build on it, not take the rest of the week off.

8. Thinking only about the big dream. Sure we all want to write a blockbuster. But that isn’t my only goal. I have lots of goals that will lead up to that one. Don’t be a big-picture writer and lose out on the chance to fulfill your dream.

9. Over planning. Yes, we need to make plans, and follow a schedule. But if we’re so concerned with the process of planning, we’re wasting valuable time. Write down your goals, come up with a schedule and then GET TO WORK.

10. Not learning. With writers, like most creative endeavors talent is a good start. BUT diligence trumps talent every single time. Doing the hard work to learn all that’s involved with becoming a professional writer will get you much farther than even a huge amount of talent.

This are the hindrances I’ve found to writing productivity, I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. Wow... I think I'm guilty of 70% of that list. But I am getting work done. So maybe I'm only partially guilty. ;)

    1. Alycia, I don't think you're guilty! Blessings, E

  2. Yes I have done most of the above. Thank you for the conviction through your blog. I did catch myself this morning, reading email, posting of twitter and surfing the net. I stopped and finished my blog post ahead of time.

  3. Thanks for stepping on my toes! I've been dancing around writing.
    You're an inspiration and a motivation leader.

    Teach on.

  4. Great article. I needed to read this today. I might add another tip. Don't compare what you are working on with similar work that comes out before your work is finished.
    I was almost finished with the memoir I was compiling about my grandmother teaching 100 years ago in Arizona. Someone sent me the news article about a similar book (memoir teacher -same time period etc.) and I downloaded a copy 5 months before my book was completed. When I realized the writer of this similar book was an editor for the New Yorker I felt like I should give up before I even finished. I did complete my book. I stopped comparing myself to someone qualified and experienced. Now 3 years later, I have 303 reviews on Amazon and she has 264. I am so grateful I got past comparing myself and my ability to someone else.

    1. Great post, Edie. Thank you for the advice.

      Barbara, your tip was also very good, but it seems you are still comparing yourself to that other author. The fact that you have 303 reviews on Amazon is a great accomplishment. You don't need to compare that to the other author's reviews.

  5. 2 is a real time waster for me. I tend to look at social media and blogs every time I sit down at the computer. That's an important one. It becomes such a habit