Improve Your Writing Productivity

It’s as simple as identifying what works for you

Diona L. Reeves
3 min readMay 15

Photo by Tai Jyun Chang on Unsplash

You know what they say about good intentions, right?

My “good intention” for a full-time writing career is capturing ideas and thoughts in a system for future inspiration.

If I need an idea for a pitch request on Twitter, I can just reference my anecdote file. Or, better yet, open my custom Notion databases, which integrate content ideas and market info into topic-specific tables.

I worked on these systems for hours, convinced that establishing a viable process would help me be more prolific.

What an absolute waste of time! You can’t bottle inspiration. It’s either there or it isn’t, and trying to make the act of writing a formal affair stripped the enjoyment from my daily efforts.

The funny thing about writing for a living is that you actually have to do it. Systems serve their purpose, but only if they help, not hinder, your efforts. The key to being a productive writer is learning the difference for yourself.

I love the idea of capturing processes and workflows, but the truth is, I don’t operate well within the systems I so diligently create. Not in the creative space, anyway. I was eerily good at channeling structure and process when I managed others in the business world. But I hate the passionless nature of such an approach. What once motivated me is now stifling.

It’s like outlining. You can preach all you want about the value of gathering your thoughts before you write — of having a plan. I’ll just plug my ears and make loud noises until you quit.

Sure, I can write within guidelines. But this doesn’t mean I want to, or even that I should.

I am a much better writer when I follow my inner pull, floating wherever my mental focus steers me. NOT when I follow some formula or tried-and-true method that works for others.

I read a lot of books on writing, and Wesley Dean Smith is one of my favorites on this topic. Along with building an inventory of work, he advocates for writing stories once and sending them off. His argument is that too much editing and polishing strips your work of its creativity.

Diona L. Reeves

Author of The Prescott Diaries. Writes articles on productivity, the writing process, and this thing called life.