The Quick Tip: Which Writing Routine Will Work for You?

Even well into your career, you may still be figuring out a productive writing practice.

The internet will have you believe that writing 15 minutes a day is the only way to be productive. That may or may not work for you. Other advice suggests that you “write anything, just write” as a way to get your creative juices flowing.

Perhaps the best advice: Try a lot of strategies, and adapt them for your goals, your process, and your life context. Here are some ways to stay motivated and writing as you work out which writing habits best suit you:

Expand your definition of writing. Much of writing is thinking, and that takes a lot of time. Doing research, drafting outlines, revising drafts — all of those steps count as writing. A broader definition of writing will make you feel more productive on the days when you don’t generate new words on the screen.

Avoid setting page- or word-count goals. Instead, try time-based goals in which you write, say, one to four hours (after four hours, your brain is likely to be out of resources).

Listen to yourself, and work on what you feel like working on that day. Forcing yourself to write when you feel unmotivated or indifferent will result in writing that you end up deleting. It will also stress you out and create a negative emotional association with writing. This is why it helps to have several projects going at once.

By Denise K. Magner, first published on February 11, 2020