Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Whether you’re an aspiring author or multi-published, it’s often a challenge to meet your writing goals. Here are ten tips that will help increase your writing productivity.

  1. Write with instrumental music playing in the background.  I recently saw an informal survey that found those who listened to music while writing were able to write more words per day than those who didn’t. I like to write with instrumental praise music or movie soundtracks playing in the background. Some of my favorite soundtracks are Prince of Tides, The Cider House Rules, Downton Abbey, and Little Women.

  1. Set a timer. Try this trick. Set your timer for fifteen minutes, and tell yourself you will focus and write for that long. Keep writing and moving ahead in your story without going back to review or revise.  Then take a short break and set the timer again. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in short periods of time like this. 

  1. Outline the scene first. Before you start writing think through your scene, choose your POV character, the mood and setting and goals for each character. Create a list of descriptive and sensory words you could use in that scene. I find taking a walk and thinking it through first helps me a lot. 

  1. Set a word count goal. Word count goals can be motivating and a helpful guide. I know if I meet my goal each week, then I’ll finish my book on time. That relieves some of the pressure and helps my creativity flow. 

  1. Write at your most productive time of the day. When are you the most productive and creative? Set aside that time to write, and don’t allow email, Facebook or Pinterest to eat up your best writing time.  Turn off your email program and use your less productive times of the day to check email and social media

  1. Wear earphones. Earphones are a great way to block out noise as well as pipe in your favorite music. I have some very comfortable rubber tipped earphones that I wear, and even when I am not listening to music I put them in. I’ve found it helps my family realize I am working and won’t hear them, so they are less likely to interrupt me unless it’s something important.

  1. Give yourself permission to write fast and messy. Turn off the internal editor who questions every word, and let your creativity flow. I tell myself I don’t have to write it perfectly, I just have to get it down. You can only revise what you’ve written. So tell yourself it’s okay if it’s awful. You can fix it when you revise.

  1. Find an accountability partner. Team up with another writer and commit to checking up on each other. Share your goals and exchange emails at the end of the day to report your word count. Don’t ask them to commit for life, just try it for a set period of time. Knowing someone is waiting to hear how you’ve done that day can be very motivating.

  1. Reward yourself for reaching your goals.  Why wait until you’ve finished your book to enjoy a reward? Set several short-term goals and celebrate when you reach them. Do something you enjoy when you meet your weekly word count or half way point. 

  1. Get a comfortable, chair, clothing, and drink.  Feeling comfortable while you write is important. Invest in a good chair, wear comfortable clothes and stock up on your favorite drinks. Some authors find changing locations around the house gives them a mental break and it also helps prevent back issues.

I hope you’ll try some of these tips and they’ll help you reach your writing goals! 

Carrie Turansky’s first novella was published in 2005, and she is now the award-winning author of ten inspirational romance novels and novellas including her most recent novel, Snowflake Sweethearts. She has won the Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award and been a finalist for several other awards. Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott, who is a pastor, author, speaker, and counselor. They have five adult children and three grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys gardening, flower arranging, and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. You can connect with Carrie through her website: www.carrieturansky.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


  1. Welcome, Carrie! Thanks for ten great kick-in-the-pants tips. I share a word count goal with my crit group nearly every day and they do the same (well, most of them). That keeps me on track and motivated. We have also challenged each other on word count, though infrequently because so many of us write at different levels or some more time crunches than others. We have a lot of fun.

    Have a wonderful Holiday, friend!

  2. Hi Sandra, sharing your word count goal with critique partners is a great idea! I like that.
    Happy writing!

  3. Carrie,
    Thanks for sharing these tips! I set a timer for 45 minutes. My productivity increased tenfold when I started doing this. I'll have to try out some of your other tips.

  4. Hi Marian, I like to use small blocks of time too. I've heard 90 minutes is a very good amount too.


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