Productivity hacks for writers - Authors A.I.

Tips from an author with more than 65 titles to her name

As writers, we all have certain superpowers. Mine is productivity. I picked up a few tricks during my time as an attorney and then refined them during the course of writing 65-plus novels.

productivity handout
Download this free one-pager on productivity tips for writers.
After all, as writers and authors, productivity is our lifeblood. It’s how we turn scenes into chapters, chapters into drafts and drafts into books.

Last Friday, fellow thriller author Danielle Girard hosted me on Authors A.I.’s First Draft Friday gab fest on Facebook Live. The event is quickly becoming an indispensable gathering spot on Friday afternoons (every other week) for established and aspiring authors.

During the 35-minute session, which you can watch above, we covered a wide range of productivity techniques. I compiled them into this handy handout, which I encourage you to download, print out and apply to your own writing process. Here it is:

Six key productivity hacks for authors

Claim your space

1While some authors prefer to write in a people-watching venue like a cafe, most of us write in our homes these days. Stake out an area of the house that
serves as your dedicated writing space. Set specific hours and ask family members to try to avoid interrupting your creative “me time.”


Pomodoro Method
Time yourself with the Pomodoro Method.

Try writing sprints

2Have you heard of the Pomodoro Method? It’s a great technique to get out of your own way and honor your commitment to get words on the page every day. Write in 25-minute bursts and let the words flow. Don’t self-edit, just write! Then take a break and begin another sprint. Some authors can get 5,000 words down on a page in an hour!

Measure word counts

3Keep track of how many words you write during each sprint or session. Set goals. Over time, you’ll get more words down on the page. Your writing program (Scivener, Word, etc.) likely already has this feature. If not, try this free word counter.


Take advantage of a free app.

Use an app

4Several apps can help you maintain focus. Popular attention apps include:
Be Focused (iOS)
Focus To-Do (Android)

You can also use your phone’s built-in timer or stopwatch — or an actual egg timer.


Alphasmart 3000
The Alphasmart 3000 comes without Internet. Instant productivity!

Ditch your computer!

5A writer’s best-kept secret is the Alphasmart 3000 or Neo product line. This virtually indestructible, amazing hunk-of-junk word processor can really free your mind and offers truly distraction-free writing. Any place can be your writing space with an Alphasmart. Snag one for as little as $25.

Get ambient

6Get in the mood and shut out the rest of the world with, Amazon Music (did you know it comes free with your Amazon Prime subscription?) or build your own ambient soundscape at myNoise.

Don’t forget to register for the next First Draft Friday, with a high-profile editor in the hot seat.

Thanks for reading. Now go write!

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