JM Williams

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3 Tips for More Productive Writing


The past year and a half has given me a few insights about writing productivity that’s I’d like to share.

1) Wake up early and keep a regular schedule.


I’ve had a lot of free time to write after quitting my full time job in 2016 (not having full-time employment has proved to not be the boon it’s cracked up to be). I work full days at different jobs from time to time, but many days I am just off for the whole day. I have found that waking up at a regular time, as if if it is a regular work day, sets me up for success later on. For me, this is around 7am. I think it has to do with creating the right mindset, expecting a day of work rather than a day of rest.

2) Put on pants.

I imagine this is much the same as the previous tip, setting the mood for work. It may be tempting to stay in sweats or PJs if you are going to be home all day, but putting on regular clothes tells your psyche that it’s time to get to busy. For me, that’s pants.

3) Note your ideas when they come, not when you think you have time.


Even though I been blessed with a lot of time to write, I don’t always have time when I need it. In a similar way, I often get ideas at the absolute worst time–in bed, in the bath, in the car, etc. I’ve found that it is critical to take note of the idea once I have the slightest chance. If I am parked for a moment, waiting to pick someone up, I jot a note in my phone or record a voice note. If in bed, I often wake up to take a note then go back to sleep. If in the bath, I just mull it over until I get out. It has been shown that writing something down helps you remember.

Now, I have a couple dozen ideas in my notes and if I every find myself without something to write, I just have to look there. Also, reviewing my story notes from time to time often welcomes a spontaneous muse and helps me bring the story to fruition. This is precisely what happened with the most recent short story I wrote, which I submitted to the previous quarter of Writers of the Future.

In the end,

it’s about generating and maintaining the right state of mind. Any writer knows that if you don’t have the right mind, you can’t write well, even if you force it. And even if you wake up early and get dressed for success, it does not guarantee that the day’s writing will go off without a hitch. But it is an easy way to set the groundwork for a good day.

Hope these tips help! Good luck with your writing.


I will be sending out my next newsletter, in honor of the new year, which will include an exclusive video of myself, talking Iric and future projects, as well as the usual publication highlight and writing tips. If you’d like to see all that, and be part of the “cool” crowd, you can sign up to join the RABBLE on the right side of the page!


8 Responses to 3 Tips for More Productive Writing

  1. I’ve felt when I have my face made up for the day I am more confident and empowered. so understand putting them pants on!☺ best wishes for 2018 JM!

  2. I agree that you get more done if you wake up and have a plan and take it seriously. Although for me, that specifically involves *not* wearing pants — you know I’m serious about getting writing done that day if I don’t even bother to change out of sweats. But that’s because I do have a full time job, so getting dressed is associated with doing that job, not with settling down and writing.

    I’d add something to your last point: I take notes to myself wherever I am too, but the key is figuring out where to copy those notes to later so I can find them, or so that I run across them when I need them, long after I’ve forgotten about them. Now I have various places where those ideas go, depending on what type of idea (e.g, idea for a new story versus a change to a current WIP versus something about world-building).

    • JM Williams

      Good point. I need to organize my ideas and notes better myself. Right now they are scattered in various word documents, though I think they are all in the same folder. Maybe.

  3. Yup, waking up early and setting a schedule is everything! Plus coffee. Always coffee. 🙂

  4. After submitting my last entries, my mind seems too tired to conjure up new ideas but there’s so much more writing to do. I don’t have the best routine which may be part of the reason I get fatigued often. I think a good nap will help haha

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