Writer Productivity Gurus are Full of Crap

By: Jennifer Lovett

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find a million reasons to procrastinate, and your productivity is crap. Actually, writing this article is a way I’m procrastinating from writing the next chapter in my book. I’ve read all about “writer productivity” and I call b-s on it.

  • I need to go out and buy books at Costco.
  • I want a new black bag for my trip to Japan.
  • Company is coming this weekend, and I need food.
  • College applications are due and I need to nudge Miss Thing’s guidance counselor.

The list goes on and on. So I figured if I write about writer productivity, then maybe I’ll get my butt in gear. Whoops, just had to check Facebook and my email. Simone Biles just won her umpteenth world championship – way to go girl!

Just Do It!

Back to productivity.

I actually have a list. One I write every single night before I go to bed. On it now are eight items, half of which have three sub-items. I’ve been working for three hours and only one is checked off. I posted to social media!

But I like to wake up early, drink coffee and read the news. Then check email. That takes nearly an hour. Does it help me get motivated to write? Who knows, but once I take the time for news and email, I’m no longer thinking about it.

Now I’m researching writer / book statistics. It has been reported that nearly 80% of Americans want to write a book. Know how many finish that book? Two percent? Two!

Have you finished a book? Then welcome to the two percent.

Doesn’t matter if you haven’t shopped it around yet or indie-pubbed it. You finished it and you should be proud!

But what about the rest? Why haven’t you finished?

What got me to finish my book? I have five completed books. Only one is out, but that’s neither here nor there. I finished five.

  • The first one got done because I was motivated by all the awesome other writers around me who were finishing their books.
  • And the second one because it fed into the first one and the story just kept on coming.
  • The third one was a NaNoWriMo challenge and a super fun one on a topic I love.
  • Fourth? Completely fed up with the American political vitriol and I had to figure out a way to work through it. Book done.
  • I had the time and a deep desire to help others. This is the one that’s actually out. It’s also nonfiction and I’m much more comfortable with the topic.

So how did it happen?

We could look at the fact that I’m a night owl and can cram four hours’ worth of quality work in after dinner as opposed to the mediocre crap I can push out before 9 am.

I also have a need to be around people, and I write a hundred times better at my favorite, Panera Bread, or my favorite, favorites coffee shops. Poor Richards in downtown Colorado Springs and Poet’s in Cookeville, Tennessee, are my super favs. Sooo productive there!

I also drink a crap-ton of coffee, water and tea, so there are a lot of breaks in my day. If I didn’t walk outside everyday after lunch, I’d be a jumbled mess on whatever issues I’m having with my work.

I can’t find my 2019 vision board. I don’t have a white board. But I hear those things work too. What I do have is a deep fascination with writing and words. I love them.

Think about your day.

  • Are you following what someone else told you to do and suddenly you find yourself pouring over cat photos on Instagram instead of writing?
  • When are you most productive? It’s usually only about four hours of the day. Find those four hours and hold them hostage. No one is to steal those from you.
  • Or you could just do what Nora Roberts does. Writing is her work, and she works 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. That might just kill me. Probably why I don’t make a gazillion dollars a year with my books too.

I don’t have any answers for you other than to think about your time. Where are your holes? What are you doing instead? Why are you doing that instead? Forget all that writer productivity guru crap and think about you and your writing.

You sat down to write for a reason. What is it? Hold on to that for dear life and get that book done! Be a two percenter.

Ok, I’m off. Not to write. I need to buy that black bag and a couple of books.


Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

Jennifer Lovett is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
She currently lives in South Korea and travels around Asia for fun.
You can find her on her WebsiteTwitter, and Instagram: @writernationjen