Author productivity is a vital skill set to develop if you expect to sell plenty of books. Without robust author productivity, you will not be able to achieve your income goals or keep your fans engaged.
However, you might not (yet!) be a full-time author. Your author productivity faces multiple challenges and difficulties. Digital tools and social media undermine your ability to focus in many cases, especially when notifications are on. In addition, you might also have a day job and family responsibilities that take up much of your time and energy.
There are two ways to look at your very full schedules and author productivity. First, you might become discouraged and limit your writing to occasional sessions on weekends and holidays. That approach does work. However, your total output will be significantly constrained. The second approach is to make time for daily writing practice.
We call it the One Hour Rule.
Introducing The One Hour Rule For Author Productivity
To maximize your authority productivity, commit to one hour per day of writing for 30 days. Thirty days is enough time to make significant progress on many book projects. If you write 500 words per hour, then you can produce 15,000 words of material in a month. That’s roughly one-third of a short novel or non-fiction book. Your daily output will probably vary depending on your energy levels, writing experience, and daily motivation levels.
The key is to put yourself in the chair and write for at least one hour per day. To make this rule easy to implement, we have three “difficulty modes” for you to consider. In many video games, you can choose a difficulty level based on your skill and motivation. That’s an excellent mechanism to apply to improve your writing productivity.
Author Productivity: Easy Mode For The First Time Author
In this approach, you will get started with 15 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of writing time. Your reading time will prime you with ideas to inspire your reading. Alternatively, you can do your writing first and enjoy 15 minutes of reading with your first cup of tea (or coffee) each day.
Author Productivity Medium Mode To Make Steady Progress Every Day
Set a timer for 25-30 minutes and write continuously. The only rule is that you cannot stop for any reason. Feel free to skip to different sections. For a non-fiction writer, you might write multiple parts of various chapters. Remember, you will improve your book later in the editing process.
Author Productivity Hard Mode: Your Path To Elite Performance
With this approach, you are going to be tired and highly productive! I suggest setting a timer for 30 minutes, write as much as you can. When that timer runs out, get up and walk around for a five-minute break. Next, get back to your desk and write for another 30 minutes. It took me months of writing practice to get up to this level.
At the end of 30 days, you will evaluate your progress and determine which mode works best for you. If your experience is anything like mine, you will find that your “writing focus” muscle becomes stronger over time.
Setting timers and writing each day is just the start. There are a few supporting tips and techniques we recommend to make the most of your daily writing time.
Tips To Get The Most Out of Your Power Hour Of Writing
To continue with the video game metaphor from the prior section, these tips are “power-ups” that will help you sustain your productivity.
1. Experiment with “writing music.”
A few years ago, I read that Michael Hyatt, author of multiple bestsellers including “Free To Focus” and “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World,” listens to movie soundtracks while he writes. In particular, he mentioned the Gladiator movie soundtrack as a favorite. I experimented with listening to the soundtrack, and it worked well for me! The music is beautiful and helps me to write more.
For the best results, I recommend using instrumental music only since lyrics may distract you. If you’re new to classical music, I recommend Bach’s Cello Suites. I’ve listened to this music dozens of times during my writing sessions, and it has worked well.
2. Do your research before writing time
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you probably need to do some research for your book. Unfortunately, some authors let their desire to conduct exhaustive research cause them to procrastinate and put off the writing. Therefore, I suggest scheduling separate time for research and different time for writing.
Tip: Need to look up a fact or reference in your writing? Don’t worry. Make a note of it using the Word or Google Doc “comment” feature and keep writing. The next day, go back and address those points.
3. Use outlines
Outlines give you a blueprint to follow in your writing. In this article, I wrote out the main section headings first. After that point, I wrote out each section in turn.
The next time you see a blank page, you have a solution. Write out three or four section titles and then write out the section that you feel most interested in.
4. Choose a consistent time for writing
Making consistent progress is easier if you have writing time in your schedule. I find early in the morning is best for me. You may need to experiment with a few different times. If you have a full-time job, consider writing for 15-30 minutes during your lunch break. Those lunch break writing sessions are a great option.
Further Reading On Writing Productivity
There are several excellent resources available to help you become even more productive. Specifically, I recommend 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox and 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. These books have helped me to achieve more productivity, though I confess that I have never reached 5,000 words per hour!
Of course, you can also benefit from reading productivity books from a general audience. Check out our review of ManageYour Day-To-Day for further tips.
About The Author
Bruce Harpham works with BooksGoSocial to help authors sell more books. To find out more about how we can help authors like you, visit the BooksGoSocial website.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit on writing nonfiction books. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!