SPQ 018: Prolific Writing – What Tools and Processes Do You Use to Write On a Daily Basis?
What tools and processes do you use to help you be a prolific writer?
Prolific writing makes things a lot easier for your book-based business. When it comes to being prolific, it’s all about habits. The right habits help you take large projects and break them down into doable daily processes.
If you want to be a prolific writer, you must understand when you work best and focus on writing during the time you are at your peak. This can be difficult, especially if you are juggling a job or family responsibilities, so try to find the right balance between writing and your other obligations.
Steve uses a list of most important tasks (MITs) to determine what to work on each day. Writing is one of these tasks. When he writes out his MITs for the day, he is very specific. Instead of saying “Write something,” he says something specific, like “Write 1,500 words for my newest Kindle book.”
It’s important to be consistent with your writing, so focus on consistency first instead of focusing on word count. Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg and Mini Habits by Stephen Guise both recommend building consistency instead of creating lofty goals you probably won’t accomplish. When you first start, set a very small goal so you get used to writing on a daily basis. There’s a chance you will exceed your goal once you get going.
When you sit down to write, you need to focus on the right things. If you plan to be a Kindle author, you need to focus on that. Steve decided to give up blogging and focus on his Kindle writing, for example. Don’t be afraid to say no if someone approaches you about doing a project you don’t have time to complete. Greg McKeown talks about this in Essentialism.
Steve uses a project pipeline to manage multiple projects at the same time: the book I’m developing, the book I’m writing, and the book that is in post-production (see SPQ08 for more about this). For projects in development, he is coming up with ideas, creating outlines, and doing research.
If you use a project pipeline, you’re never left without something to write. Once you finish a book, you have another book to work on.
Steve also recommends the Pomodoro technique. With this technique, you work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. This helps you avoid distractions and focus on your writing.
Use a spreadsheet with the following seven columns to track your productivity:
- Time of the day (morning, afternoon, or evening)
- Location (office, Starbucks, etc.)
- Title of your writing project
- Number of writing blocks
- Total word count for the session
- Average word count (total word count divided by the number of writing blocks completed)
It is important to calculate your average word count so you can determine where and when you work best. A lot of this comes down to the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts.
Steve discusses several of these topics in his book, “Writing Habit Mastery.” He wrote the book a few years ago, but it still has a lot of good tips for helping you become a prolific writer.
Resources and Links
Tiny Habits: The Tiny Habits program helps people change their lives by making tiny changes
Mini Habits: Stephen Guise teaches readers how to make positive changes by adding mini habits to their routines
Essentialism by Greg Mckeown: Greg Mckeown offers insight into living life to its fullest
SPQ 008 – Managing Multiple Projects: Steve explains how he uses a project pipeline to manage multiple projects at the same time
The Pomodoro Technique: Steve uses this productivity technique to stay on track
Writing Habit Mastery: Read this book to learn how to overcome writer’s block
SpeakPipe: Submit a question to the Self-Publishing Questions podcast