Jun 15, 2017

18 Ways to Improve Your Writing Efficiency

We had our monthly ANWA meeting today. As usual, it was wonderful. A sister returned who hadn't attended in nearly a year, and we discussed our writing progress.

A common thread emerged during conversation: "I need be more productive when writing."

 So I decided to brainstorm ways we can become more efficient to increase our writing output.

  1.  Turn off the Internet. Okay, this is a no-brainer.  For many reasons. For the purposes of writing a book, you should disconnect your Internet for at least seven years, just to be safe.  Imagine how many hours you can devote if you're not reading the news, talking to other writers, reading writing prompts, or connecting with family. The internet is evil. Eeeeeevilllll. 
  2. Get rid of children. Speaking of family, your kids are impeding your productivity. Get rid of them. Dump them on your spouse, your older children, introduce them to the television, or confine them to the backyard. Parenting is highly overrated anyway. Leaving them to their own devices is the only way to prepare them for the cold, dark world around us anyway. As long as they are alive, and relatively well fed, then you're good. 
  3. Get rid of spouses, friends, and anyone else who likes to talk. While you're at it, it might be best to sever all ties to your spouse, friends, relatives, and anyone else who sucks time away from writing. Consider removing the dog's vocal chords. There's nothing more annoying than catching up on Aunt Alice's latest fashion disaster when all you want to do is work on your current WIP.
  4. Remove pets from your writing space. C'mon. Fluffy does NOT need to be on the keyboard.  She will be perfectly fine confined to the bathroom.  Better yet, send her out back with the kids. They'll take wonderful care of her. No, those scissors little Billy snagged are not intended to give Fluffy a haircut. And Sally is fast enough to stay out of his grasp. Her ponytails will be just fine. Honest. 
  5. Read Books. We hear it all the time.  Read read read! In fact, I've heard 36-hour reading marathons work wonders on one's relationships, writing ability, and housekeeping skills.  If you're lucky, maybe you'll find an author with a 15 book series.  You might have to binge. Oh, the sacrifices you must make in the name of your craft!
  6. Listen to podcasts, and read articles or blogs on productivity. This is much like a Netflix binge. Find a podcast or author you like and listen to every podcast produced since the beginning of time. If one podcast is good, then 7,894 is better, right?
  7. Quit your full-time job. To be a serious writer, you must sacrifice for your craft.  All true artists make sacrifices. The greater the sacrifice, the more committed you are a a writer, right? So go ahead. Quit your job. Lose your house, eat less food, don't pay the bills.  In the end you'll have massive pools of experience to draw from for future stories.
  8. Ignore your church callings. Heavenly Father will understand. He wants what makes us happy. And writing makes us happy. He won't mind if we take a small hiatus from our callings...or church for that matter.  As long as we're doing what makes us happy. 
  9. Starve. Wait. Scratch that. Indulge.  Make sure rich, chocolate, caffeinated sodas, savory chips and goodies are always within reach while you're sitting at your computer.  Use those extra calories to maintain your energy and keep you from being distracted by annoying things like family dinners. If your cup doesn't runneth over, buy more soda. 
  10. Don't clean your house or do yard work. Oh the hours you'll save if you leave the housework and domestic responsibilities to someone else!  Just put on a set of blinders, or better yet, situate your desk facing a corner. You'll never see the chaos around you. Or the rats and bugs. I'm pretty sure the health department can't enter unless you let them in. 
  11. Holidays are highly overrated.  Holidays require a person to go to parties, socialize, make extra food, shop for presents, and spend time with (shudder) family.  Holidays are no bueno.  Avoid them at all costs. 
  12. Limit your sleep to three hours per night or less. Utilize time originally spent doing nothing. Sleep is a perfect example.  You were accomplishing nothing during those hours anyway. Instead, rise several hours early. Or better yet, pull an all-nighter and hammer out a few thousand more words. 
  13. Type until your fingers bleed. Breaks are for lazy, un-dedicated amateurs.  Carpel Tunnel? All in your head.  Need a break? That's why God created potty breaks. Fingers tired? Rest them while you're grabbing a handful of Cheetos. Then get back to work! Sit down at 5:00 a.m. and type until your fingers bleed.  
  14. Never ever ever write by hand. Oh heavens. There's a reason why typewriters were created. Then replaced by word processors, which were replaced by computers. Who needs the tactile input pen and paper offers? Plus, you're killing trees.  Tons of them!  You don't want to be responsible for decimating an entire rain forest, do you?
  15. Steal, if you must. Sometimes writer's block becomes unbearable. Or you get lazy. Whatever. In that case, plagiarism is okay.  But only if you don't get caught.  If you get caught. Well, then. You're on your own buddy!  Don't say I didn't warn you. Because if anyone asks, I totally threw a hissy fit telling everyone to never ever ever EVER steal someone's work. That'd be just wrong (wink wink).
  16. Let the words flow like a waterfall. Trust your initial instincts.  the most ineffishent use of ur time iz editing ur first & subsequant drafts.  1000's ov people submit there NaNoWriMo 1stdrafts to publishers & lit. agents mere days after completing they're first draft.  Thousands of people can't be wrong, can they????????
  17. Never ever ask for help. Forget about it. Nobody wants to help you.  They're only interested in your final draft. You are an island.  Suck it up and do this by yourself. 
  18. Ignore me.  In fact, do the opposite of everything mentioned. Utilize the Internet for information and resources as needed. Take care of children, nurture family and relationships.  Fulfill your callings. Go to work. Take care of yourself and pets. Take breaks. Ask for help and edit like crazy. Learn along the way. Take your time, and go at your own pace.
Writing is most efficient when done in moderation, fully dependent upon your particular life, priorities, and lifestyle permits. Writing is an activity that can be a hobby, a profession, an obsession, or any variation in between.  The key is to make sure you don't burn out, and you don't ignore the other priorities in your life. The only requirement you have to be a writer is to write. Put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. One word, or 500,000 words; it doesn't matter. Just write.  

Good luck!  Enjoy the journey, and be sure to take time for yourself along the way.  Everything else will come in it's own time. 

All the best, 



  1. Whoa---made my head feel like imploding! Good stuff!

  2. Hmmmmm I am experiencing writer's block, and have for probably over a year now maybe more. My life's circumstances really didn't give me time to think about or write at all. Or maybe I just used that as an excuse. My writing interest has reared its head a few times, but the overwhelming sense lingers.


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