It’s time to declare your independence from procrastination and finish writing your book. Here are my most brutally honest author productivity hacks.
According to reliable sources like friends, clients, and even complete strangers, I’m a bit of a productivity, time management, and mindset nerd. I group the three together because in my experience they’re 3 strands of the same knot, especially for authors fighting to undo it so they can write and finish their books.
I’m helping them do this as part of my daily podcast/Alexa flash briefing “Your Daily Writing Habit,” where I offer up 3-5 minute tips for authors every single day, in the areas of writing fundamentals, productivity, and mindset. Lately, it’s the productivity strategies that seem to be getting the most attention and the recent survey.
If writing is my “zone of genius” perhaps productivity and mindset are prominent zip codes within that zone.
Here are some of my most brutally honest productivity hacks to help you break through procrastination and start and FINISH writing a great book!
Unplug: Multitasking in the age of the internet is a myth. I don’t care how much willpower you think you have. It’s like trying to go on a diet with unhealthy food in your fridge. If the phone is set to “ding ding” and the browser tabs are open, your writing practice will suffer. Period.
Forget the Fasts, Set Daily Habits: If one initial X day social media “fast” helps jump start your concentration, that’s fine. But please don’t rely on it for solving the bigger problem – your daily online/social media habits and how they are affecting your writing time.
For me it’s not the quantity of social media networks, but it’s the frequency of access, constant reactivity, and where within the natural flow of your day you allow yourself internet time. Ex. If you’re most creative in the morning, stay away from the internet in the morning and designate that as your writing time instead.
Leave Off In Flow: One of my favorite writing productivity habits! Rather than stopping your writing session at the end of a topic, chapter, or other “flow” you’ve got going – stop writing when you’re in the middle of something (story, thought, lesson).
Leave yourself a clean enough stopping point so you can jump back in, you might even leave yourself a brief note in your manuscript about where you want to go next, but don’t wait until the feeling of “flow” has passed before you stop writing for the day. That way when you come back, the flow energy will be there waiting for you and it will be MUCH easier to get started again!
Daily Writing Exercises: This is something we recently started doing in my author book writing program Writers Club Live! The idea behind our daily “writing prompts” is that creative writing muscles, whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, need constant conditioning just like any other muscles. You can either make up little writing exercises for yourself or google/look up social hashtags like #writingprompt and you’ll find a zillion of them.
You might feel guilty for straying from your book project to do these seemingly unrelated exercises. But 9 times out of 10 what ends up happening is, the “unrelated” writing opens the dam on ALL the writing and you’ll return to your book mentally refreshed and creatively reinvigorated!
Accountability: Whether it’s a friend, a writing group (are you a member of my free group Ink Authors on Facebook?) or a more structured program of steadfast accountability like Writers Club Live! – the odds of you completing your book if someone is holding your feet to the fire are considerably improved over going it alone and trying to hold yourself accountable.
A closing thought on habits…
I’ve been ghostwriting for a living for 18 years now, which means I get paid to start AND finish writing books. The difference between failure and success in writing a book, is the difference between relying on inspiration, talent, willpower, and creativity vs. setting in place solid habits, fundamentals, accountability, and discipline. This may sound harsh, and of course the first set of things also come into play when writing a book, but without the second set – there is no finished book.
You CAN break free from procrastination and write and finish a book that DOES make a difference in the lives of so many people!
I’ve helped dozens of people do this and it is absolutely worth the effort, every single time. Ask any published author. The first time you hold “your baby” in your hands with your name on the cover and realize you’ve successfully created something that has the capacity to do SO much good for so many people… that’s when it all becomes worth it.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there’s anything I can do to help you!