Writing Tips: How To Become A Consistent, Prolific Writer

Person Holding White Ceramci Be Happy Painted Mug

Prolific and profit generating author/writer shares his writing strategies

One of the challenges for many writers is how to write regularly while maintaining the quality of the writing, and that applies to both article writing, and writing a book.

Most of us on social media don’t write for a living. We are professionals who do other things and have many other responsibilities, yet there’s a strong desire for many to write for other platforms.

It’s important, whether you are writing an article a week, or month, or want to write more prolifically, to manage your tactics, ideas and routines, because consistent posting is an important and necessary part of being read.

In this behind the scenes look I’ll share what I do and have done to maintain consistent writing output. Over the years I’ve produced about 500 articles available online, mostly on my websites, but also for other platforms and organizations. When you add in the frequently asked questions sections of my websites, the number grows to easily over a thousand articles. That’s in addition to the twenty or so books I have published for both major publishers like McGraw-Hill, and those my company publishes independently.

One reward for being prolific and consistent is that my various websites (and the articles contained on them) have been viewed by something in excess of fifteen million individuals, and that’s mainly due to being prolific and consistent.

How I Do It. How I’ve Done It.

Having A Specific Time To Work and Write: I allocate a specific time to work, and surprisingly, I try to limit my work time to mornings. My current rhythm involves working from the time I get up (could be 6 a.m to 9 a.m. as a starting point), and I try to stop somewhere around noon, but often go longer.

That time isn’t only taken up with writing. That’s for doing the various other tasks I have to do for my business. It may seem odd that I try to limit my actual working hours, but I’ve found that since all my work tasks are “brain intensive”, and that applies even more to writing, that when I go longer, I get less productive. That’s partly a function of age. When I was younger, I could work and write for twelve hours in a day, and in fact that’s how many of my books got done. Now, at the age of sixty, I can’t do that.

First Thing I Do Each Morning: Once I’m up and moving the FIRST thing I do is sit outside on my porch with my coffee and my tablet. That time is critical for me, because I use it to READ. I’ll check into LinkedIn, look at other websites, and generally see what people I follow are concerned about. I NEVER reply on my tablet during this time.

Why? My morning reading and surfing, which involves about twenty minutes, gives me the grist for writing ideas. I tend to read about what I’m currently passionate about, and the simple act of reading various discussions somehow gets transformed into article ideas and perspectives that I might add that are DIFFERENT than what I read, complement what I’ve read, or disagree with what I’ve read.

For example, I’ve been reading about employee engagement, and it was stimulating enough for me to find a good ten or twelve articles ideas that I used to create my critiques of employee engagement.

Sitting Down To Write: I’ve found that the best approach for me when writing an article is to get it written quickly. That’s because by the time I sit down to write, I already know what I want to say. I don’t organize, plan, or otherwise analyse what I’m going to do. While that doesn’t work for writing books (you MUST organize), it works well for articles up to several thousand words.

Does that result in less coherent articles? Yes. However, when I write for the Internet, I’m less concerned about the organization, than the IDEA, or what I want to say. When I write to be paid, for a client, it’s different. Then I plan. Organize. Tailor to the client’s needs.

If I get “stuck” writing an article, I stop. Often when I get stuck, I realize I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I may come back to it to finish, but often if I get stuck, I just abandon the thing. If I can’t do it in one sitting, and in less than an hour or so, I’m not “ready” to write.

Passion And Interest: I write about things I have an interest in, a passion. If I didn’t have a passion for writing, I wouldn’t have written this. My interests change fairly often, though. I may focus on one or two new things for a week or two. Get “hepped up”, and have ideas jumping out of the woodwork. Write about them. Then I move on to other topics that also interest me.

The passion comes through to your readers, but you will write more consistently when you are in love, even temporarily, with the ideas you are writing about. And of course, your expertise will come through. This is actually quite different from how traditional journalists and reporters work, and it should be.

Limited Editing: I hate editing. Really hate it. In fact, for my later books that I did for McGraw-Hill, I actually made arrangements with them so that I didn’t have to proof read the close to final versions (the galleys).

Editing sucks the fun out of writing, at least for me. And yes, I know that if I ruthlessly edit what I write on the Internet, the end product would be much better. But I’m not interested in being perfect, whether it’s grammar and spelling, or even organization, when I write for free online. I’m way more interested in the IDEAS, the meat of the article, rather than its form or linguistic artistry. For me the material is about communicating with others, so while it would be better for me to edit more, I’ve made a conscious decision to only do quick ones before I make an article available online.

Similarly, during the actual writing, I do NO editing. I don’t even check spelling. I DO go back for those necessary things you need to do to make the article readable.

Getting It Out To Readers. Like, Now! Once I’ve completed a piece, then it goes up on the Internet IMMEDIATELY. I want to get it out there while I still have a focus on that article. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, or on my websites, my articles typically are made available for readers within a few minutes of their completion.

Then Forget About It. It’s done. Your baby was born, grew up, became independent and has moved out. I give up my attachment to the article. I’ll typically look at it online, and maybe check to see if people have read it, or commented, and if I remember, (I often don’t), I will get back to people who have made interesting comments on the article).

But it’s time to move on. The truth is that focusing on how many people read your article, or liked it or retweeted it is often a time sucking trap. These “vanity metrics” seem useful but they aren’t really, except to make you feel a little more secure, or…well, loved…or, even hated. Move on. The kid’s grown.

And, now that it’s grownup, let go of your attachment to it, and let go of any feelings you might have about readers criticizing what you’ve written, OR praising it. When you stay attached to your creation, you’ll waste lots of energy. NEXT is the watchword.

Limit Social Media Time: Even if you post your article on social media, stay away from the trap of the endless conversations that occur, even about your article. I DO like to interact with readers of my articles, but I limit the time I use to do so. Yes, you do have to promote your material on social media, to encourage people to read, but always remember that the time you spend doing this, and being active on social media conversations is time away from writing that NEXT thing.

Social media activity and writing use the same kind of brain processes, so you will find that the more you engage in social media the less you will want to write your own articles. Both can be exhausting, so decide your priorities.

I rarely interact on social media in ways that consume my time and energy. The exception to that is when I’m talking a few days off from writing or doing other company related things. That’s what I’ve been doing the last five days. But that’s it.

Include Non_Verbal Activities In Your Day: I try to include activities that do NOT involve writing or words, or the brain functions need to produce them. Exercise, of course. a sporting event. Or trying a different brain capacity. For example, I’ve been spending time on some fun graphics processing programs which invigorates me and is pure fun. For some of the satiric results try here)

Conclusion: Find Your Own Mojo, Find Your Rhythm

Photo by Matthijs Smit on Unsplash

As I’ve said, each of us is different. We have different obligations, and differing amounts of time to allocate to writing. Use the ideas above to stimulate your THINKING about what will work for you, rather than adopt them without thought.

How I do it, what I’ve outlined would be considered “wrong” by many other people. But hey, I’ll take the millions of readers who have read my articles, cause if doin’ it wrong is wrong, well, I’d rather be be doing it wrong.

Well, it’s close to noon, and today so far I’ve gotten three new articles online, and done some image processing, added some Pinterest things, and a number of other work tasks. So, that’s it.

If you have suggestions to add, what works for you, or comments and questions, I’d love to hear them, and I promise to try to remember to come back and answer them!

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