Writing like a Boss

From the desk of Samantha R. Uhrig

How I Became More Productive in My Writing

To put it simply: The Girl Who Frosts The Cakes is taking so much longer than I’d estimated.

Which is why I’m sharing this good news with you: I am doing so much better on my novel now. In the past 2-3 days, I’ve written thousands of words! That’s a pretty darn big deal for me. So, for the first time in months, I’m on track again!

I think this calls for a cupcake. Later.

For now, I want to tell you how I became so productive. Because it’d be wrong of me to keep all of this success to myself, huh?

So here’s the basics of what I did to become more productive.

How I Became More Productive in My Writing

I stopped waiting for “the right time.”

There will never be a “perfect time” to write, and we need to face that.

My ideal writing environment: bookshelves adorn nearly every wall, from floor to ceiling, each shelf loaded with my favorite reads. On any wall that doesn’t have a shelf, I’ve got motivational posters in frames. Jane Austen book covers printed on canvas. I have a bottomless pitcher of sweet tea, and outside the window it’s always either storming or sunshiny. The automatic music system in the ceiling plays exactly what I need to hear.

My actual writing environment: I have an old floral couch against a window. I pull up a folding chair as an ottoman, and my Subway iced tea grows warm because it’s on the floor and I forget it’s there.

There won’t be a better time than now. Each time you procrastinate, you’re teaching your brain that it’s okay to put off your writing. And, obviously, it’s not okay!

So stop waiting for “the right time,” because it isn’t going to come. The more you write now, the more likely you are to write again later. It comes full circle!

I secluded myself from real-life distractions …

This one was harder. I’d gotten into the habit of sitting on the couch and watching Netflix while I did my writing. The worst part: I didn’t realize my fault here! I would stress myself out wondering how I could get so little writing done, while I had the document open on my laptop all day long.

So I stopped doing that.

Remember a few paragraphs ago, when I talked about my writing environment? (I’ve misspelled “environment” every time I’ve written it so far. Thank goodness for auto-spellcheck!) That environment is in my bedroom. It’s pretty separate from the rest of the house, so unless someone yells or sneezes, I won’t hear a thing.

It’s ridiculous how well this works. On the living room couch, I would write 100-ish words; on my bedroom sofa, I’m able to write over 2,000. That’s 20x the words!

… and online distractions.

I close all online tabs, even my own blog, before I get ready to write. I know you hear this advice a lot, but I’m here to tell you that it’s no lie. Keeping yourself secluded from online distractions is such a simple way to get yourself focused.

Okay, so there are some exceptions. Yes, I keep a few tabs open whilst writing. But only those related to whatever I’m writing at the time. (No, Pinterest doesn’t count.) Because I’m weaving a historical fiction, I often have to Google random things to make sure everything checks out.

Aside from those, I also keep Wordhippo.com open all the time. It’s basically my thesaurus, which is totally necessary.

The types of tabs you shouldn’t keep open when you’re trying to focus are mainly social media – Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc. They’re the #1 distraction of all time, so hit that little “X” button on your window before you write!

I took care of myself.

Self-care is important, especially in the case of writing! Here’s what I do to take care of myself whilst writing:

  • I keep a drink with me. Ice water works best, because it keeps you hydrated and focused. If you really need it, you can bring a caffeinated drink (coffee, tea, soda); but honestly, water is the best.
  • I wear comfy clothes. For me, personally: I won’t wear pajamas while I work. It tricks my mind into thinking that it’s time to relax, so it makes me sluggish and tired. Sadly, the same goes for yoga pants. So this time of year I typically will change into a comfy t-shirt and maybe shorts.
  • I listen(ed) to confidence-boosting musicI started a playlist called “Feel Good,” which is full of happy, confidence-boosting music. It inspires me to work harder! I don’t think I would have been able to become so productive if I didn’t listen to Katy Perry’s “Firework” and Selena Gomez’s “Who Says” every day.

I celebrated my little victories.

Even outside of writing, it’s actually healthy to celebrate your little victories. It boosts your confidence and self-esteem like crazy. Both of which are the backbone of writing success!

I get nonsensically excited every time I finish a chapter. To celebrate my success, I put a new Post-It Note on my wall; each Note represents a chapter. So every time I go in my room, I’m reminded of my victory! I’ll take any kind of encouragement I can get. Whatever motivates me to get my novel done.

(I can’t wait to see what my wall looks like when I have some-30 Post-It Notes on there!)

If you reach a big milestone, try rewarding yourself for it. For example: when I finish Part One, which will probably be today or tomorrow (yay!), I’ll get myself a slice of pie.

It doesn’t have to be a food item, that’s just what I do. You could treat yourself to a new set of pencils, or a Coke! (Wow, both of those sound really good right now. Maybe I should skip the pie and go straight for Coke?)

In essence, that is how I became more productive in my writing:

  • I stopped waiting for “the right time,”
  • I secluded myself from distractions, both real-world and online,
  • I took care of myself,
  • and I celebrated my little victories.

I know there wasn’t a whole lot to this post. But I hadn’t posted any articles in a while, so here we go. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of regular posts again soon – my giveaway messed me up. But if not, it’s actually good news! Because that means I’m working too hard on my novel to make blog posts.

So there you go! As always:


2 responses to “How I Became More Productive in My Writing”

  1. Aynsley

    Hi Sam! This was, actually, just what I needed to hear because I agree with everything you just said! Today I’m celebrating two little victories- the 2 month anniversary of the re-writing of my second book in my series, and another anniversary for a different book of a year and 2 months! It’s pretty exciting! I want to thank you, Sam, for helping me. I probably couldn’t have written my books if it weren’t for the help of your blog! Thanks so much! (I love Jamie Grace too!)

    1. Sam – thewriter (author)

      Hi, Aynsley! I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂 And congrats on your anniversaries! Sometimes I feel like the little victories are the best, you know? There are so many of them in a day, if you can spot them, and that just leads to all the more celebration! (Oh, Jamie Grace is fantastic. She’s just so happy, even her “sad” songs have a note of hope in them.)