How to be Productive

The Excellent WriterI believe it is important to be productive to be your best as a writer. However, I believe that each of us has to define what we mean by having a productive writing life. In other words, there are no two writing lives that are the same. We are each in different seasons of our writing life, and with these seasons come different definitions of success and productivity.

So, reflect on where you are in your writing career and where you would like to get to in the next few months or a year. I feel that is what my goals are as a leader in this mentoring group. I don’t claim to have all the answers. But each of you knows quite a bit about your own writing career. It is just important for you to become aware of it. And that is what this month will encourage you to do.

So, get ready to be empowered by your own journey of productivity!

Learn What Productivity Means to You

This month, you will learn what productivity means to you. It is unique to each of us. So, please never compare how much you produce with what someone else does. That is a waste of energy, time, and self-confidence.

Instead, focus on discovering your rhythms of productivity. I will show you how to do so this month.

Following are some questions you can consider as a way to start articulating your personal productivity values and standards. I recommend that you write something down now, even if you’re not sure of the answer, and answer these questions as things unfold over time.

This can be a useful record of how you are growing and what you are learning about yourself and your life. At the end of the month, I will prepare a PDF for you so that you could print out all the questions I ask during these four weeks for your perusal later on.

Here are the questions with no further ado. Just a caveat before we begin. Please don’t get overwhelmed by the number of questions. As I say, just answer them now briefly and plan to revisit these questions as time goes on.

Productivity Defined (by you)

• How to I define a productive writing life?

– What does a productive writing life look and feel like?
– What does it accomplish?
– What are its office hours?
– What are its writing rhythms?
– What else in addition to writing happens in that life?
– What is the work/life balance?

• What writers and authors do I admire?
• What can I learn from their unique or distinctive approaches to productivity?
• What have I read, observed, gleaned over the years about how a productive writing life gets established and nurtured?

How am I productive today?

• What am I accomplishing that I value?
• What skills and strategies am I using to do so?
• What technologies and tools are serving me best?
• What attitudes and habits align with my goals and values?
• Who in my community today is contributing to my 0productivity—through friendship, collaboration, mentorship, writing dates, or something else?

How do I intent to be more productive moving forward?

• What do I want to accomplish in my writing life—both the big-picture long-term, and the specifics of the immediate future?
• What skills and strategies are likely to help me accomplish this?
• What technologies and tools do I intend to lean and use, and how do I expect them to help me?
• What habits or beliefs can I choose or improve to achieve greater productivity?
• Is there additional knowledge or expertise that could help me become more productive?
• What do I know (or who do I want to know), such as friends, colleague or teachers who might help me become more productive?

So, take out your writer’s journal and do some soul-searching by answering these questions!

Try it!

Irene S. Roth

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