Being a productive writer means you have to wear a lot of little hats. Writer, editor, world builder, outliner, proofreader, graphic designer, etc.
If there is one lesson I’ve learned over the last year to being a productive writer, it’s to prioritize new content over anything else every day. Editing is of course important, but you can’t edit what you don’t have created. Plus, many authors, me included, are partial or full-on pantsers, or authors who write by the seat of their pants.
In fact, I would say that pansters need to ensure they are writing new content more than those that outline extensively, since many of our plot twits and character developments aren’t known until the story is written. Many times these scenes require extensive rewriting, or we might even throw away large chunks of the story to be re-written once we realize where the story is truly going.
Not making it a daily habit to write new content everyday has been the #1 regret for my writing career for the last few years. Had I stuck to that simple habit, I’d be putting out 365,000 words a year, or a million words every three years. Even if I throw half of those words away, that’s easily 2-3 books worth of editable content that could be published, plus handfuls of short stories, novellas, and other things to giveaway to newsletter subscribers, anthologies, or put up on blogs for promotional material.
It’s so important, that when I came up with this (duh) realization a couple months ago, I stopped all other activities to ensure that this habit was followed, and so far, I have.
I look forward to doing my end of the year or mid-year review next year and saying how I have been writing for half a year, or a full year, non-stop, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of words, and hopefully, the books to back that production up.
So take it from me, a man who’s been trying to become an author for a number of years, and is slowly, hard-heatedly, learning things the correct way after lots of trial, error, and mistakes. Write each day. Don’t market, edit, or even check email till you have your words done. Do this, and you’ll set yourself up better than most to be successful.