I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Productive Writing

By Jennie Atkins

I am always busy making something.  Currently, I am working on Christmas gifts for my family. My office floor, covered with scraps of material, resembles Joseph’s coat of many colors.  It used to be I’d make at least one gift for everyone on my Christmas list. To do so, I either had to start my Christmas projects early—which I often did.  Or learn ways to improve my performance.  I learned short cuts to eliminate rework, keep my quality high, yet get things done in record time.  I use these same principles at my job, so I’ve tried to examine my writing to see if they’d work there.
I recently picked up a book called 2k to 10k: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What you Love by Rachel Aaron.   It had a lot of great tips, small improvements that I had already begun to realize in my own writing journey prior to reading the book.  So I thought I’d share them here.
Understand your scene before your write it.  No need to let your fingers do the walking aimlessly across the keyboard on their own.  Give them some help by scoping out the scene beforehand either in your head or a list of cryptic notes on a napkin.  Some go as far as to pre-write the scene.  I don’t like double work, so I’ll stick to the notes.
Time is a big issue.  Find your best writing time and protect it.  This may mean finding a quiet spot somewhere else other than your home to write. It may also mean discovering the time of day you’re more productive and trying to squeeze in time to write during that timeframe.
Then lastly, make sure you are enthusiastic about what you’re writing.  If it’s boring to you, it’s boring to the reader as well. So next time you’re struggling with a scene, stop and ask the question…why?  It may be you need to start back at square one and rethink your scene.

I'm not talking about assembly line, cookie cutter type writing, just small ways to make your time at the computer more productive. And some of these things may only work for me. 
So now its your turn:  How have you learned to be more productive?


  1. The one thing that helps me write faster is to know what my character's goal is for the scene. Otherwise I meander around, chasing one rabbit trail after another. Great tips, Jennie!

  2. Great tips, Jennie. I also go to a FB site called #1K!HR. I love writing with others and challenging myself to write as many words as I can in that hour. :)

  3. Pat,
    Good point! You're right. Once you know what the main idea of the scene is, it helps put everything else into focus!

  4. Jeanne,
    Sometimes a little peer pressure goes a long way!

  5. I love the visual of your office covered in fabric scraps. :)

    For me, I'm most productive by plotting out my story chapter by chapter. Then I break down each chapter using Susan May Warren's SHARP method. Like Pat, I need to know my character's goal in the scene and what's at stake to keep the tension high.