How to Boost Your Writing Productivity

Five Methods:Changing Your Environment to Promote ProductivityUsing Behavioral Approaches to Improve ProductivitySeeking out Physical Stimuli to Build ProductivityCreating a Routine to Advance ProductivityOvercoming a Block

Copywriters and freelance writers who work from home often encounter a writing block or find themselves in a productivity hole, unable to work any more. Being unmotivated to write can cause a number of problems including placing financial stress upon the writer, affecting the writer’s self-esteem, and leading to a loss of confidence in the writer’s own abilities.[1] If you find yourself facing a productivity block, changing your environment, altering your behavior, or establishing a routine can get you back on track.

Method 1
Changing Your Environment to Promote Productivity

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    Change your surroundings. A writing block can be overcome by a simple change of venue. Productivity increases when you are in a calm and comfortable environment.[2] If your apartment or home is not an environment well-suited to writing consider the following:[3]
    • Try a local coffee shop.
    • Go to the park or into nature with a lawn chair and your laptop when you need to do some writing.
    • Play your favorite music to drown out outside noises if you cannot leave your house or apartment.
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    Stay with a friend. Ask a friend with a home or apartment that has the type of environment that you are looking for if you could spend a few hours each day writing there.[4] Being in a comfortable environment with the company of your friend may increase your productivity. You might even ask your friend to be your work-buddy and to hold you accountable for using your time wisely while you are at his house.
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    Go outside. Staying inside all day to work lowers a person’s productivity. Instead, if you feel unmotivated, wander outside for a walk or to exercise.[5] Being outside in the sunshine helps you relax and relaxation helps to improve the flow of thoughts, productivity, and motivation.
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    Seek out a public place to write. Sometimes writing from home can be an isolating experience.[6] If you begin to feel isolated, seek out a more public place to write such as a public library or a coffee shop. This will put you in close quarters with other people and will help you feel less isolated as you work.

Method 2
Using Behavioral Approaches to Improve Productivity

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    Create realistic writing goals for yourself.[7] Hold yourself accountable for meeting these writing goals. If you feel as though you might need added accountability, let your friends or family know what goals you’ve set for yourself.[8] Be sure that your goals aren’t too lofty. For example, don’t make a goal that you will write for eight consecutive hours a day. Instead, you might decide that your goal is to write one page a day, or that you’ll write for two hours a day.
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    Keep a writing productivity chart.[9] This is where you make a chart that keeps track of how often and how much you write each day. You might choose to make your unit of measurement hours, the number of words written, or the number of projects completed. This chart will enable you to see what your writing productivity looks like over a specific period of time.
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    Break projects down into smaller parts and pieces.[10] When you have a large project looming before you, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of work you must undertake. However, if you break the project down into smaller components, the project will seem much less daunting.[11][12] For example, if you plan to write a 3,000 word essay, tell yourself that you will write the essay over the course of three days and on each day you will write 1,000 words.
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    Reward yourself when you’ve completed a writing task.[13] Tell yourself that you will be able to do something that you want to do only after you’ve accomplished your writing goal for the day. This will help to motivate you to write. For instance, if you want to play your guitar, tell yourself that you can do this after you’ve finished composing your 1,000 word goal for the day and hold yourself to it.

Method 3
Seeking out Physical Stimuli to Build Productivity

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    Get some exercise. When you are experiencing writer’s block, try to undertake a physical activity. Exercising has been proven to help writers move beyond writer’s block. Exercising brings more oxygen to your brain and helps to release endorphins, which can help your mind to relax and focus on what you are doing at the moment.[14] When you return to your desk, you will find it easy to write.
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    Take a shower. The water touching your skin will also refresh your brain and unleash the creativity.[15] Taking a shower is a relaxing experience, which causes the brain to release dopamine, which, in turn, leads to a rise in creativity.[16] Moreover, you will feel energized and ready to work again, as your mood will experience a positive boost.
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    Eat or drink something. Your brain will operate at its highest function when you have supplied your body with adequate nutrition.[17] Eating the following foods can boost your brain function, which will help you to become a better and more productive writer:[18]
    • Coffee
    • Fish
    • Blueberries
    • Whole Grains
    • Avocados
    • Ginseng

Method 4
Creating a Routine to Advance Productivity

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    Work to the Pomodoro method. The Pomodoro method is working for twenty five minutes, then taking a pause for five minutes.[19] Every four sequences, take a fifteen minute break instead of a five minute.[20] This way you will be able to track your working schedule and give you some time for internal and external distractions, such as social media accounts or hunger.
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    Write every day. It is important to set up a schedule in which you write every day even when you don’t need to.[21] Having a word count objective for each day also helps you to stay on task and maintain your routine.[22] For example, you might choose to write 1,000 words each day. Once you’ve set up a routine like this, working becomes more of a habit and less of a chore.
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    Create your own routine. Some people prefer to write in the morning, others like to write at night. Some people prefer to utilize a word count goal each day, while others prefer to write on a specific assignment. Whatever your preference, set a routine for yourself to turn the act of writing into a habit for you.[23] While scheduling the same time of day for writing may seem inconvenient at first, after a while, you’ll find it very helpful. Here are things to keep in mind:
    • What time of day do you prefer to write?
    • How long do you prefer to work at a stretch?
    • What is your preferred objective when writing? Is it a word count goal, a deadline, a specific assignment, or a particular topic?
    • What type of writing habit are you seeking to build?
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    Switch it up. When you work on a big project you may find yourself stuck on a certain chapter. This means it is time to switch to something else, like a second project. This can unblock your creativity and make you productive again. When you feel tired of the second project, return to the first one. This way, you will boost your productivity and work on two different projects at the same time.

Method 5
Overcoming a Block

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    Use free writing techniques. Free writing is where you write whatever comes to your mind, though staying on topic is certainly helpful.[24] This will help you get your ideas down on paper, which can relieve writer’s block. Free writing can be done by following these steps:[25]
    • Relax and turn your mind into a blank canvas. Try not to think about anything.
    • Set a time limit for this exercise. It might be five minutes or it might be a half an hour.
    • Write for your chosen length of time without stopping. It’s okay if you write nonsense, have spelling errors, don’t use punctuation or correct grammar. It’s okay if you jump from topic to topic, or if you forget the idea you had begun to write down. If you get stuck, you can write something like, “I am free writing, “ over and over again until a new idea pops up.
    • Stop writing when you run out of time. You might be in mid-sentence and that’s okay, but make sure that you respect your time limit.
    • Go back and read what you’ve written. Is there an idea or set of ideas that sparks your imagination or compels you to write more about them? If so, get to writing. If not, try another free writing session.
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    Write a sloppy copy. The sloppy copy is your first draft, but it is so called because it will inevitably have mistakes. Don’t worry about fixing spelling, punctuation, or grammar until you’ve gotten all of your ideas down on paper.[26][27] The goal is to create an entire essay or article in first draft form.[28] Once you have completed your rough draft, you can begin to make revisions and edits.
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    Jot down placeholder sentences. Using placeholder text allows you to fill up your page, so that you aren’t staring at a lot of blank space when you are beginning a project.[29] You might decide to put the placeholder sentences in a different color font so that you know where they are and can delete them when you’ve finished writing what you want to write.[30] Ideally, the placeholder sentences that you use might have something to do with what you are writing about, but that needn’t be the case.


  • Always do your formatting at one end of your project: either the beginning, or the end. This will make you more productive, as you will not have to worry about changing fonts and colors while you actually write.
  • If you deal with a huge project, chunk it into smaller sub-chapters and deal with them as they are.
  • Try to minimize internal distractions by making sure that you get enough food, sleep, and exercise before you write.
  • Try to minimize external distractions by finding a quiet and comfortable environment in which to write, and by turning off the internet and your phone whenever possible.


  • Procrastination does not improve writing productivity.
  • If you struggle with your writing productivity, know that you are not alone. Do not let your struggles negatively impact your mental health or self-esteem.
  • When the going gets tough, don’t abandon your routine. Creating a routine isn’t always easy, but as long as you stick with it, the payoff is enormous.

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Categories: Writing | Better Writing