I’m starting with this one because it meant a lot to me. When I finally got fed up with my low productivity not many years ago, when I was so self-critical of my own writing that it was nearly impossible to squeeze out any words at all, I decided that I needed to do something to get out of my own way.
1. Get yourself a countdown timer. An electronic egg timer works well, but most digital watches have them.
2. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
3. The goal is to write 500 words or for 30 minutes, whatever comes last.
The emphasis is important. If the timer goes off and you still haven’t reached 500 words, keep writing until you have. If you reach 500 words and the timer’s still going, keep writing at least until the timer goes off.
4. Do this every day. You can always find thirty minutes. If you do, you’ll have written at least the equivalent of two novels over the course of a year. All with thirty minutes a day.
You’ll find out very quickly that one of the reoccurring themes of improving one’s productivity is to do so by creating limitations. It’s paradoxical, really. You’d think that have no boundaries would make you more creative and more productive, but it’s often exactly the opposite. Too much freedom and writers often just freeze up. There are too many possibilities. If you limit the time or the subject matter, you’ll often find your creativity unleashed and the words flowing.