6 Ways to Supercharge Your Writing

6 Ways to Supercharge Your Writing

Reader Comments (117)

  1. The point system is interesting. Never read that before. The point system is a self-induced billing system in a way. Some jobs require “to-the-minute” billing and the more you bill, the better. Some people hate tracking time while some people find it motivating. The more time billed, the better sense of accomplishment. I see your point system as something that could definitely work for people who find tracking time a sense of accomplishment.

    I couldn’t agree more about knowing your creative hot spots. I noticed this early after starting my first blog. In fact, I have a very hard time writing in the afternoon; but in the morning I can crank out work. Therefore, I leave admin stuff to the afternoon and write as much as I can in the a.m.

    • Your point system reminded me of my time in Weight Watchers. We’re given a goal of “eat this many points a day” and you’ll lose weight — which is really a gaming device (that, really only works when you have a reward, too). I hadn’t ever thought of organizing myself this way (for my writing). Thanks for making that connection for me.

      • Hi Peter and Tea,

        It took awhile for me to figure out how to enjoy the game of writing. We are programmed to learn through play and when we can tap into this we can harness our focus and meet our goals.

        Having a reward system is very important, but not necessary. The point tally at the end of the day can be a reward in itself. If you do want to give yourself a reward make sure they are easy to fulfill, so they don’t take up too much time or energy.

          • Love that point system idea! That is completely new to me. I like the idea of putting something into place that ‘rewards’ working on the right things vs just working. Other points were great, too.. and the Remember This. “It always comes back to love.”

    • Same with you. I cannot write in the afternoon.

      While the point system seems good, I still prefer setting achievable goals instead of trying to push myself to something I find very hard to achieve. At the end of the day, I will feel like I haven’t accomplished what I set out to achieve.

  2. Excellent insight. For me, the best time is late night. Not sure if anyone else gets the same thing, but I physically feel in the zone during those late night writing binges, not just mentally there.

      • Thanks for sharing this marvelous article. I like to start writing early in the morning because it’s all quiet and it was refreshing. Sometimes I get stock to write if I am not on the mood or my days we’re not good.

    • Of course! No one can write in the daytime. Its too hot outside to think..well especially where I am in Los Angeles, at night you can come up with some good ideas and sketches at Starbucks, and then type it up on your Ipad.

  3. Not so sure about the point system; tracking my time drives me up a wall. I do like the reward idea though. When I’m feeling stuck or unmotivated, I find it useful to go do something else that has nothing to do with work, such as take a walk, run an errand, or do some household chores. I find it reboots my brain.

    • Knowing what reboots your brain is critical to being a great writer. We can’t sit down and just write awesome blog posts on command. We need to create space so we can process our thoughts and let the good stuff out.

  4. Scribbling down ideas > headers > topics > points to work from does wonders for me. The greatest arch-nemesis of the content writer is quite possibly the blank page.

    • Great point! By letting the ideas trickle out and not expecting perfection, we can get the juices flowing and they will hopefully turn into something good.

  5. Hot-Spots are extremely important to me. I tend to have creative bursts early in the morning and late at night. I don’t know exactly why but I do. Aside from that I have several random “zone out” moments where I have those light bulb moments that I take advantage of. It’s important to get as much done as possible during these hot-spots because that’s when you create your best work. Great Tips!

    • Hi Dewane,

      No one knows why the hot-spots are the way they are, but as least you know to take advantage of them. I try to create a writing routine around my hot-spots and it’s been a huge boon to my productivity.

  6. Karl,

    Great post. Also very timely.

    I’ve been working my butt off lately, growing two blogs. At first, they were extremely fulfilling, but as I saw them grow bigger and bigger, my expectations kept increasing and I began to push myself more and more.

    To the point of having no free time.

    All of my “free” time the last 4 months has been dedicated to research, writing, SEO and increasing my output even more.

    But now I feel VERY burned out and instead of waking up excited every morning, I look at my To Do list with dread.

    I made some changes over the weekend that I know will work though.

    So yes, I agree, being productive isn’t everything. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing and doing it from a place of passion, it will show.

    I’ll certainly share this with my readers. Thanks again. =)

    – Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Pushing yourself too hard is exhausting. I’ve been there. My first 6 blogs burned me out. After blogging for awhile I’ve learned when to push hard and when to ease up. This ebb and flow is vital to staying happy and engaged with your blog.

  7. You are talking about (copy)writing here but I noticed this is quite similar in computer programming as well. I also noticed that there is a big difference between people in strict corporate setting where the “why” part is mostly the money and the Open Source world where the “why” is about lots of other things that are considered of higher value.

    When I have black-out I go out for a run. Running uphill in 80F with 65% humidity you don’t need to look for any arch nemesis and it certainly clears your mind from any other problems you might be facing.

    Instead of a writing system I prefer to create a TODO list with points and strike them out. Seeing the done tasks listed further encourages me. I think I never make the end of my TODO list which probably just means I am like most other programmers. Always underestimate the time required.

    • Hi Gabor,

      Programming and writing are so much alike that they require much of the same tools and mindset to be successful. You have to do what makes you feel successful because it’s this feeling that will keep you programming great code.

  8. I love the tip about reading a children’s book! They are a quick read and a good way to get “stress” out of your mind.

    I think it’s also important to be able to give yourself permission NOT to write. Too often, I read blog posts from someone who committed to posting once a day, once every other day, whatever, then it’s clear they don’t enjoy writing and force it just to make their commitment. I’d rather read someone who posts less frequently, but does so with passion.

    • Hi Deb,

      I love a good children’s book. It’s a great mental break.

      I agree with you on blogging frequency. Quality is so much more important than quantity.

  9. Thank you for this post!
    I’m used to posting a new article every Monday and due to family issues I didn’t get to write anything last week. So yesterday, I was really stuck. I was trying to come up with something and I didn’t feel like writing at all! I felt like everything I wrote was terrible, even the topic! So I just typed my ideas and woke up this morning to write them in a proper way. I guess morning is my hot-spot!! 😀
    I love the writing point system! I’m a person who’s very fond of to-do lists. I guess I’ll use that system the next time I’m making a list!
    Thumbs up!

    • Hi Nadine,

      It’s funny how keeping track of our progress can be a reward in itself. I love seeing how close I can get to my points goal.

  10. This article really reasonated with me. I love the point system – never heard of that. I also love the idea of my writing hot spot. And finally, the reward plan is a winner too. These are GREAT ideas. Thanks so much for posting. Blessings, Amy

  11. I know *exactly* what you mean about feeling stuck and feeling like you’ve got to just get words down on paper, even though you’d rather do just about anything else (do the dishes, mop the floors, etc).

    I’ve found that, for me, that feeling usually comes from something being out of whack – maybe I’m not taking on the right kind of work, maybe I don’t like the direction I’m taking with a project and so on. So when I recognize it, I try to get up and go to lunch somewhere just to get out of my head and away from the computer for a bit, and I write down every project that I’m working on, what I like and what I don’t. This method is usually pretty good at getting my head cleared and helping me get back to being productive.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Nice tip. If you keep grinding away you end up with bad work. It’s better to clear out the junk and get back on track. Once you are feeling good again, it’s so much easier to produce great writing.

  12. Timely article. I began thinking of my writing as a ‘task.’ Each day, I would sit at my computer and ‘fuss’ about how much I need to do and how little time I do have. “Getting Back” into my own writing helped me a lot. I took a couple of weeks from writing for anyone and reconnected with my base. It worked wonders!

    • Hi Aidy,

      It all comes down to mental space and the faster you can create that space the easier it is getting back to work. If you exercise this part on daily basis of your brain it gets easier and easier.

  13. These are all great tips, but frankly I never really got Twitter. It is not visual enough for me and I feel like I am feeling my way around in the dark. Also, my dog does not listen to me. I try, but she would rather chase chickens and cats. Sharing your post, though, great information.

    • Hi Nicole,

      lol. Twitter isn’t for everyone. It’s why you can’t force it. Focus on the social media sites that grab you and make you want to engage with people. Thanks for sharing with your friends.

  14. “Give me six minutes and I’ll give you six techniques that’ll make you a happy and productive writer.”

    That was the clincher for me and I’m glad I gave you my six minutes, Karl! Biggest takeaway for me was the point system.

    • Hi Nicholas,

      Taking some focused time to be happier within your writing system makes the job/career so much more exciting and you produce much better work.

  15. Thanks for these great Monday tips! Being a newbie to all this, I find it refreshing when veterans “keep it real.” I am juggling work that pays the bills, and then my passion for running my business. Finding time to write is challenging for me and implementing a realistic system just might be the answer I’m looking for. Also, I love your twitter party idea. This is a great marketing idea for increasing my own twitter following. Great post!

  16. Ah, great tips and very timely for me because I’ve got a post due today, long list of “to do’s” to promote my blog, and working on finishing a book and, and, and I’m NOT having any fun. Fortunaely, I do know my “why” and truth is each of these things individually IS fun for me – I’ve just done what I usually do, underestimated the amount of time it takes me to complete a project – any project. It’s still dark where I live, but as soon as it get’s a little lighter think I’ll take a long walk with the dog and regroup – thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Marquita,

      Sometimes work is work no matter how hard you try to spin it, especially when we aren’t in the right frame of mind and we have a deadline. This is where understanding “why you do what you do” is so important. If you know and feel the larger picture it’s easier to stay focused.

      I love getting away from my work with my dog. My stress just melts away. Good luck with your long list.

  17. fantastic post, I need to pull this one up before i write my next post. I’ve been staying within my comfort zone way too much lately.

    • Hi Chris,

      I would suggest copying the title and the 6 headlines into a Word doc, printing it out and take a quick glance at it before you start a blog post to remind yourself that you have options to stay happy and produce great content.

  18. Great Article. So many points I knew but had forgotten.

    Since my Blog is about Alzheimer’s, sometimes it isn’t pleasant material to write about.
    But–with a new view, I think I have to remind myself the reason I write in the first place, to inform and raise awareness, no matter what the material.

    Certainly there are fun days and funny articles sometimes, even with Alzheimer’s!

    Thank you–

    • Hi Sandy,

      Forgetting is so easy to do even when we are healthy. It’s why having a system to creating content is so important. You do it every day and it becomes a routine you look forward to.

  19. Great post. I love writing but when I’ve got a tricky customer commission to complete (like I do at the moment), it can begin to feel like a chore. Will definitely try your tips.

  20. Amen. I might be the queen of self-induced stress when it comes to writing (volunteers are still reviewing the votes with dangling chads). Always good to hear it’s not just me though! Still trying to find my “hot-spot” but I love the read a kids book tip. 🙂

    • Hi Michelle,

      Me too! My stress kicks into overdrive when I’ve got a lot on my plate. It’s when I need a good kids book to distract me and refocus my creative juices. What would be the first kids book you would read?

      • I’m partial to the humorous ones. “Dinosaurs Love Underpants” is laugh-out-loud funny, but so is the new one “Go the F*ck to Sleep” (even if it’s not really meant for kids).

    • Hi BAS,

      Try writing out a list of rewards and after a blog post you can just pick one. The easier you can make your celebrations the better.

  21. Great article!

    I find that I tend to skip this point and need to begin celebrating more as I complete each project ” Make time for a party!”

  22. Loved the article. It’s good to know others have challenges with the blinking white page of notepad! I liked your tips. I’m with you on the walk and other distractions. It helps me to get away from the blinking white page and take a walk or anything that takes my mind off of it. I’m learning to carry those index cards with me so I can jot down the ideas when they pop out of beta and into the more conscious part of my brain. It helps to list ideas as they flow and worry about organizing later. I like to keep a notebook next to my bed for those ideas which will only make the trip once out of my sleepy mind. Even tho, reading them the next morning can be a challenge. I like the points system. Makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for the article and the thoughts you inspired from all your readers.

    • Hi Nan,

      I have a notebook next to my bed too. It’s nice to have a place to let out ideas before bed instead of worrying if I’m going to remember them.

  23. Now this article is awesome! Bringing great content Karl! I’m bookmarking this one to come back to on the reg. Thanks again for the content Karl. Look forward to reading your next post!


  24. I tend to agree with Deb, I have noticed that a few blogs I read that do post everyday, sometimes more the once a day are either redundant or I’m left with the feeling that something was written just to get content published.

    My break is a crossword puzzle, creating something or running a quick errand to just get up and away from my desk.

    Late nights when I know I should be in bed, that’s when I am inspired to write.

    • Hi Selmane,

      I was like this too. Try to set some time aside every single day. You’ll notice a big difference in your stress, productivity and happiness.

  25. Hi Carl great post. The last point – “write that make you feel energized. The people who read your copy will feel the passion and they are more likely to open and read” I have always seen this. The readers tend to catch our feelings while we write. If we enjoy they enjoy it. If we feel energized they feel it too. If we are passionate about what we write, it creates the passion in them too.

    And about the productivity hot spot. I feel most writers would find it in the silent hours of night. Most of them, after all it’s an individual thing.

    Am just experimenting with a new thing. Writing in classic fashion. Pen and paper (book), away from computer. And it is working just fine, better than i thought. After spending so many years on computer’s screen reading and writing and communicating on the screen. Sitting and writing with pen and paper can work just fine. You might like to give it a shot.

    • Hi Alpesh,

      I love the feeling of a good poem off my pen. It’s very visceral. I need to use a computer for my blog posts, but however it flows out for you I say go with it.

  26. It’s funny, I used to think my most productive time was late late late at night, like past midnight. Being a programmer I think that’s still the case for the most part (programmers and writers have much more in common productivity wise than people realise.)

    But I also have found recently that getting up really early, pretty much at sunrise can be a super productive time as well. I guess it much have something to do with the quiet concentration time and feeling like you’re in the mood for it because you’re scheduling yourself to be there for a purpose.

    • Hi Josh,

      We can all have different hot spots and these can change as we age. I used to write better at night until my first child came along.

  27. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. It certainly left me feeling supercharged. I loved what you said about re-connecting with your creative, fun side by reading a children’s book. I can so relate to the ‘floating away’ feeling you described when you are in the middle of an article. I would have thought that stopping and reading a creative book was indulgent, and my ‘strong work ethic’ tells me this is not allowed. BUT giving ourselves licence to have fun and be refuelled on creative juice is so important.

    • Hi Jo,

      A lot of us think this way. Many of us were taught as kids to just power through instead of actually listening to how we feel.

  28. Nice post Karl.
    It’s always good to get some tips on making writing better and faster.
    Being enjoyable is also a nice benefit.
    Be awesome,

  29. Excellent article. I know that I love to write. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat a little faster. And I can write decently enough.

    My problem right now is that I am in a limbo. I shifting from just plain blogging to freelance writing and there’s a ton of things to learn to have a successful transition. Now I don’t know where to start.

    This article is like a balm to a wounded and beaten spirit. It makes me feel not being alone. That even the best of them can sometimes be what I am now – floundering.

    • Hi Joseph,

      There are always a lot of walls that we need to break down to get the written word out. Keep on breaking down those walls and the writing will flow freely once again.

  30. Walking works for me so if you are a writer and stuck with a blinking cursor, hands off the keyboard and go for a 3-5 minute walk. It literally gives you a fresher point of view and writing disposition. This works for almost any task in the office or at home.

    Of course you’ll also need lots of inspiration so experiment with other types of media such as old books from your library, movies, music, etc. Most writers I know want to stay at home like a hermit (I do) but cocooning limits us from experiencing new things that can inspire our wit.

    • Hi Lace,

      I love picking up a book from my shelf and thumbing through it. There is something special about picking up a good book, looking at my notes in the margins and finding an old idea that I can turn into a fresh blog post.

  31. I am not a writer by profession but I have a habit of writing articles when I get to know about something interesting. I have never felt demotivated about writing as I rarely write but would like to consider your inputs while writing & would like to review the end product myself!

    • Hi Henry,

      As a writer that needs to produce constantly it can feel like a job if I’m not careful. It’s why I always try to be mindful of how lucky I am to be showing people new ways of looking at their lives.

    • Hi Vikas,

      “Walking with your emotions” means walking side by side with them as they should be a friend that helps guide you instead of an enemy that you fight with.

  32. very nice post. love the idea of a reward system – this is a good strategy that prevents burn out. reward can be anything, a trip to the frozen yogurt shop, some situps, push ups, whatever you are into. the key is to take breaks, refresh your body, mind and soul and get back to producing quality work that you are passionate about.

    • Hi Sunil,

      Ahhh, a good frozen yogurt is an amazing reward. I have to add that to my list. I’m also a fan of exercising. Getting the blood pumping can really energize me.

  33. Love the idea of your points system and reading a children’s book to refresh your mind. Personally I love Dr Seuss books. Not only refreshing, but often with a great storyline too. Thanks.

    • Hi Kristin,

      Dr. Seuss is my all time favorite. They were so far ahead of their time. Dr. Seuss wrote them when all kids had was “See Spot Run.” He changed the whole children’s book game. Thankfully so.

    • Hi Gretchen,

      My favorite kids’ books are:
      – And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
      – Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
      – Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton
      – Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

  34. Karl – cracking post, I could have done with this about 2 weeks ago when I hit writers block! And I’m seriously going to adopt the writing points system – great idea!

  35. thanks for your wonderful article, I like writing every evening, i set up my writing career for happiness.
    i agree this
    “If you aren’t taking the time to create some happiness systems, you are losing out on a lot of amazing productivity”

  36. What a great article! Your points system has to be the most enjoyable method I have ever tried – it’s a wonderful way to look at things. Writers should definitely utilise their productivity hot spots, as they can waste so much time trying to write when their muse isn’t there.

  37. The idea of reading a childrens book is something I would of never thought about doing but would be the pefect concept to bring some more happiness in my life when I’m struggling with outsourcing or any other hard issue.

  38. It’s so bad go for a walk without having complied with the obligations as fulfill their obligations and not go for walks, I think that we should to take time for everything and create awards ourselves to keep the motivation.

  39. Awesome stuff!

    I’ve recently got into blogging, after firing off 20+ articles. I’ve begun to stagnate.

    I was thinking – what more can I write about on this topic? My mind was blank.

    I’m going to use your advice and see if it helps!

  40. Love these tips! Especially the ones about knowing your “why” and the point system. I’m definitely going to incorporate all of these tips into my writing day. Thank you! 🙂

  41. It’s so easy to just do what you feel like doing (or worse, not do a task just because you’re not in the mood for it). A lot of us struggle with the balance of productivity. I’m an early riser, and do my best brainstorming and creating in the early hours. I need to make sure I’m being efficient with those early hours. The point system sounds like a great motivation/reward technique. Thanks for the ideas.

  42. Thanks for this post! Another tip that I find very useful is using music. Depending on your mood, the music you listen to can really get your creativity flowing.

  43. Good stuff.
    I agree with the enjoyment of writing. If you ain’t enjoying it, you ain’t being productive. You are simply mindlessly pumping out average content which no one is really interested in.

  44. If I find myself getting writer’s block, when sat at my PC inside the house, I find it really useful to take my work outside.

    This usually involves taking my netbook into the garden or, even better, out for a walk in the countryside. I find that a bit of fresh air, and the more scenic surroundings, really help my writing start to flow again.

    Thanks for all the other tips in this great post – the idea of the points system, and reading a kid’s book, are really unique.

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