Five Tips for Productivity and Staying Productive

Thoughts, Tips

To be a writer you must write. And edit. In other words, you have to be productive. This is just a fact of life. But let’s face it, if you’ve ever written or edited anything, you know how hard it is to keep going and stay productive.


Motivation for continuing to write and edit is different for everyone. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. It’s easy to get stuck thinking we have to do all these things to make our writing lives better, when in reality we don’t.

So,  here are five things–in no particular order– that help me. Perhaps it will help you break out of a writing rut or provide some inspiration to go go go!

1. Get a Deadline.

This is probably my number one. Deadlines. And it’s not just self imposed deadlines, but deadlines someone else is holding me accountable to. To be more specific, NaNoWriMo. (If you’re looking to get a novel written, try it) It gives you a place to keep your your writing stats, make friends, see what still needs written, pep talks and forums… *sigh*

Deadlines give you that healthy pressure to get your butt in the chair and write and get stuff done. There are websites like MyWriteClub where you can make goal trackers. NaNo themselves just came out with an awesome goal tracker feature I’ve been using:


as you can see I should probably be editing right now oops

2. Get something to sip or snack on:

This varies for everyone, and goes back to the age old discussion of “AM I A TEA PERSON OR A COFFEE PERSON?*” But I really love to have something to sip on while editing and writing… even if, you know, I sit down, sip on my drink for ten minutes until the cup is mostly empty and THEN start editing.

today’s writing menu: earl grey with a side of headphones and laptop

If you’re not a coffee latte mocha drinker and tea sounds gross, try a chai latte. Or a cup of earl grey with milk and honey and a drop of vanilla…mmmm…

*to answer the question, I am both. But I  drink tea more often when writing than I do coffee. I drink coffee like once every two weeks. XD

3. Find something to listen to:

Music is a hit and a miss. It helps some and distracts others. I fall somewhere in the middle. There are times that I don’t want any sound, not even all the amazing soundtracks I’ve gathered on Spotify. But there are also times I crave it for background noise, inspiration, and getting in the mood.

Speaking of Spotify…  here are all three playlists for the Cost of Truth series.


4. Find a time and a place:

I’ve found it helps to have a general time and general place to write. During NaNo I tend to write in the later afternoon and underneath a little blanket canopy I construct over my favorite chair. Yes, it was basically a pillow fort I kept up for thirty days 😉

I recently got a new desk (!!) and I LOVE it. It really fits what I was looking for, and gives me a specific “writing” spot.”

All the necessaries are here: cat, drink, typewriter, chair, laptop, decorative lights… yep yep yep

And finally the most important thing that I have to say is a quote from Mark Twain:

5. Swallow your frog.


It’s true. If you do that in the morning, nothing else worse will probably happen to you for the rest of the day.

The same goes for other things in life. If you just get the thing done that you don’t want to do, you can move on with your day. Editing, writing, exercising, you name it. As with anything, you have to choose to do it, if you want it to get done.

So a question for you: What helps you stay productive while writing? Anything you’d add to my list?

18 thoughts on “Five Tips for Productivity and Staying Productive

  1. I love that Mark Twain quote! I had no idea Nanowrimo had a goal tracker. I will definitely check that out, since I found the encouragement of Nanowrimo to be really helpful- I wrote my first completed draft during the competition. Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like the deadline point you made. I struggle with self-motivation, and NaNo has encouraged me to treasure my story. Even little deadlines may be able to raise my esteem about projects year-round. One thing that helps me is keeping a daily record of what I write, so I notice the days I don’t write anything, and celebrate the ones I do! 🙂


  3. Deadlines are the main thing that helps me. Daily deadlines, weekly deadlines, yearly deadlines… 😉 Deadlines and headphones and music. 😀

    I don’t generally eat when I write, though. I can’t focus well. A little chocolate right when I start, maybe. But not through the whole work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A lot of these things are things I do too. Though I should really get better at setting deadlines for myself. That swallow the frog quote is one of my favorites as well, even if I don’t always do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, I use MyWriteClub, too! I’ll try to remember to “follow” you there when I log in tonight after working on The Novella. 😉

    These are all great tips on productivity. I always have a cup of tea handy and music playing when I’m writing. The Spotify widgets don’t seem to be showing for me… so which soundtracks do you listen to when you work on your stories?

    I don’t actually set deadlines until I’m close to the end of a draft. It’s mostly because my writing time is so limited, and I’m not the fastest writer, either. So I focus more on showing up when I need to per my writing schedule, then doing whatever I can in a 60 to 90 minute window. Any progress is progress in the end. Of course, if I’m fortunate enough to get a book deal, that will be a different story… but I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And I should as you, because you are quite the tea-person, what is your favorite kind of tea?
      Sorry about the Spotify widgets! They looked fine in the draft -.- All three of them are such a conglomeration of songs from the Hunger Games soundtrack, Glitch Mob, Olafur Arnalds, TRON, Interstellar, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Coco before Chanel and some video game soundtracks. It’s such an odd-ball jumble of music.
      I do like the piano & strings playlist on Spotify as well. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhhhh I can’t pick one favorite. *lol* It depends on the time of day, my mood, what taste my mouth is craving at that time… XD But when I write after work, I stick to lower caffeine teas like greens, whites, and herbals. And if I’m home on the weekends, I’ll have oolong teas because those are great through multiple steeps.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. These are some great tips! The deadline one is especially helpful for me. And tea. Tea is life. (So is extra-dark chocolate, but I only have that every so often sooo…)
    I’ve been able to be a lot more productive since I started a bullet journal this year. It’s mostly the effect of having a daily to-do list and being more organized and even semi-scheduled (that really makes a difference, haha).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh dark chocolate. I love me so dark chocolate, especially with peanut butter on top. XD What’s your favorite kind of tea?
      Yay for bullet journals! I don’t personally do one, but I love seeing how pretty others are. All so neat and organized and fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favorite kind of tea is probably chai spice, or the Sweet and Spicy kind from Good Earth.
        Hahaha… well my bullet journal isn’t really that pretty, but it *is* organized and pretty functional, which I guess is what matters!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Really great advice! The environment we set up for ourselves has such a massive impact on our productivity. Personally, I still need to improve my “frog swallowing” skills!

    Liked by 1 person

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