#productivewriter – now what?

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Very recently I have been thinking about the experiments in productive writing that we indulged in this summer.  Do I feel more productive, several weeks on?  Has anything changed, or have I gone back to my pre-productive writer habits?  What about you, fellow writers, who may have tried one or more of the #productivewriter techniques that we read about: are you feeling more productive these days?

The promise of Autumn

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The end of summer brings the traditional start of the school year.  I always looked forward to the feeling of new pencils, a clean notebook for class assignments, new subjects to learn and new teachers to learn from.  That heady sense of new unlearned knowledge ahead, before the reality of extra homework, long reading assignments, grades and exams and hurried lecture notes sets in.  It seems this is the perfect time for a check-in on productive writer techniques, and how productive we are feeling as writers.

For myself, I’m pleased to notice that I am having more momentum in my writing than I have in quite a long while.  I am sending out stories for consideration by paying and professional markets in my specialty of writing; while I’ve received several rejections, I have already been garnering a number of personal responses, along the lines of “We like your writing, this story isn’t quite right for us,” which I’ll always take as a compliment!  I’ve also received a few acceptances, which I am grateful for, to know that my work is honored and enjoyed by a professional editor.  Even more recently I received an invitation to rewrite a story that was “very close” to being accepted, which was thrilling (and which I did, of course…).

Not only that, but my work through the blog has made me feel even more connected to other bloggers.  I find writing an isolating process – just you and the screen or the paper and pen.  The kind and thoughtful messages and observations – and encouragement – that are posted in comments on my blog have warmed my heart and have helped me to feel like writing is an important and valued activity.  Thank you!

#productivewriter techniques – are they working?

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

Now, about the #productivewriter techniques – which ones am I still using, and which have fallen by the wayside?  Let’s review.

  • Write every day.  Yes, even if it is only for 15 minutes (or even just for 5 minutes), this helps.
  • Being encouraging to my writing.  Yes.  I still do A-B writer dialogs when I’m feeling uncertain or unconfident about my own writing.
  • Schedule a writing appointment.  Sort of.  (See Pomodoro technique below.)
  • Write a letter to your writing.  Not so much.  This one hasn’t been as useful as some of the others.
  • Write early in the day.  Yes!  I used to put it off, and now I find if I start first thing, use my Pomodoro timing technique, I feel so much more productive than before.  (And sometimes I still write later in the day, too!)
  • Write like a child plays.  Yes!  My sketches, my “throw-away” exercises, attempting poems, writing from prompts … while these seem “unproductive,” I get much more done on long-term projects when I’m indulging my child in these small writing-play activities as well.
  • Bonus:  Pomodoro technique (25-minute timed productivity sessions).  Yes.  When I start by sketching 4 small squares on a slip of paper, labeling them above with “25” and below with “5,” and then writing a list of 2-3 items, “what would  I like to work on today,” I feel energized.  I have discovered I am looking forward to the writing I’ll be doing that day.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, and I’m grateful!

Your turn

How about you?  What techniques help you, and which ones are not useful?  Do you have any specific writing goals you’re working toward when you sit down at your desk these days?  Any suggestions for more productivity techniques?

Thanks for visiting!

21 thoughts on “#productivewriter – now what?

  1. I’m excited to know that your writings have been accepted. That is really encouraging. I did my third submission. The first one was to a book which will be published in a year. I just don’t think about that. If I get accepted, it will be a surprise. The second and third were to an Anthology. I don’t have to wait for too long for these.

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    1. Yeah, that balancing writing with full-time work is really a puzzle. Does one write before the day starts, or try to squeeze it in at lunchtime, or wait until the evening to write? I like that you schedule it, though. That’s a very productive approach and that means you are giving attention to your writing, Dawn! Kudos!

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    1. Making time to write is one of the hardest things to do. Life gets in the way – laundry, doing the dishes, housecleaning. Ton & Audrey: Do you find it easier or more difficult when you’re on the road and away from the usual distractions?

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      1. So true are your words about the daily chores of life interrupting writing time. It seems as difficult on the road also because there are chores to do too as well as the pleasant distraction of being immersed in the moments of everywhere we go. There are many an evening when we stow away, each to our spot, and focus on framing the special moments of the day for later tuning. What is neat is we don’t seem to pay attention to time or clocks so we write and do as we feel led. There is always that constant battle with that nemesis known as distraction though.

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      2. Hmmm, interesting! I know the feeling of having that “to-do” list even when you are away from your home base. I like that you find time to reflect on the moments of the day. That seems like such a gift. 🙂 A sort of placeholder for later expression.

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  2. Oh wow! Great achievements my friend. You’re right about the rejectiobs: there are compliments there, too. Of course, awesome on getting your writing accepted. I’m a little unproductive I suppose. I’m hanging in though. And hey, I submitted a short story to Short Fiction Break. Thank you for your critique / input. I really appreciate your time. I appreciate you. I did plan to write a short story for Christmas and ice registered for NaNoWriMo this year. Fingers crossed. 😄🤗

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  3. Congrats on getting your writing out there, Theresa. It is so heartening to hear others are showing an interest in your work, and I hope you get to go places with it. Rejection can be hard, but that usually means there’s something better for us along the way 🙂 Writing is certainly an isolated process, but it is also very much a rewarding one when we take a step back and see how far we’ve come 🙂

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    1. Mabel, thank you for your kind words. It sometimes takes just one person of encouragement to help us keep going. I did have a few moments last week where I was looking over old work, a manuscript I am hoping to polish, and I realized there was a lot more to go on at least one of the stories. Aurgh! But then later in the week, I discovered a way into the revision of the story and am feeling less dismayed now. Your encouraging message, “that usually means there’s something better for us along the way” is huge. Thank you!

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  4. I really like how you looked back and reviewed how you’ve been using the exercises over time. I have always enjoyed the honesty of your writing. Whether it’s fiction or one of your experiments there is such a unique sincerity in your style that emanates the joy in what you’re doing, even when you’re doing the not so much fun part of being a creative soul. 😀

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    1. Oh! Tami! You just made my day. “there is such a unique sincerity in your style that emanates the joy in what you’re doing” – what a wonderful gift to hear your message! I confess I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the past week, not sure why. I think it happened when I looked back over some earlier work, intending to revise, and was struck by how clunky and awkward it seemed to be. I suppose that my writing has improved enough that now I view old material differently, but it caught me off-guard. Thank you so much for the reassurance! 🙂

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