Productivity Hacks for Creative Writers
Saturday, July 22, 2023

Productivity Hacks for Creative Writers

Creative writers face some unique challenges when trying to reach their goals. Here's how to work around them.

Productivity for creative writers is not merely about the number of words written per hour. Instead, it's about the quality and relevance of those words in effectively communicating your ideas and stories. Your productivity as a writer is a key factor in enhancing your creativity, overcoming writer's block, and achieving your writing goals.

In this article, we'll explore, in-depth, several strategies that can enhance your writing productivity. These techniques span from structured writing schedules and mind-mapping, to the use of modern technology.

By the end of this article, you will have a broad understanding of the importance of productivity in creative writing and practical strategies to implement. With these, you'll be well-equipped to boost your writing productivity, enhance your creativity, and take your writing to new heights.

Understanding the Unique Challenges of Creative Writing

Female writer with writer's block sitting cross-legged with laptop on couch.

Creative writing presents its own unique challenges, chief among which is navigating the creative process. The act of conjuring up an original idea and molding it into a coherent, engaging narrative is no easy feat. Often, writers may face the dreaded writer's block, a condition where they find it difficult to produce new work or experience a creative slowdown. This can be frustrating, but understanding that it is a common part of the creative process can help alleviate the pressure.

Finding the Balance: Creativity vs. Productivity

Another challenge for creative writers is striking a balance between creativity and productivity. While creativity is the essence of their work, productivity ensures they meet deadlines and maintain a steady output. This delicate balance can be difficult to maintain, as the unpredictable nature of creativity can sometimes hamper productivity. However, implementing effective productivity techniques can help writers make the most of their creative spurts and write more consistently.

Stephen King's 'On Writing'

In his memoir, On Writing, bestselling author Stephen King offers a glimpse into his writing process and how he tackles these challenges. King suggests that discipline, a consistent writing schedule, and the persistence to write, even when creativity seems to wane, are crucial to overcoming writer's block and increasing productivity. By learning from successful writers like King, aspiring writers can gain valuable insights into handling the unique challenges of creative writing.

The Power of Routine in Boosting Productivity

Man working late on his laptop.

Establishing a routine can be a transformative tool for creative writers seeking to enhance their productivity. A well-structured routine acts as a scaffold, enabling writers to harness their creative energy and focus it on their work. By setting aside dedicated writing time and adhering to it, writers can train their brains to be creative on demand, thereby increasing their output and the quality of their work.

Creating a Writing Routine that Suits You

Every individual is unique, and consequently, what works best will vary from person to person. For some, early morning hours might be the most productive, while for others, creativity might strike late at night. It's crucial to listen to your body and mind and tailor your writing routine to when you feel most creative and focused. Scientific research suggests that understanding and utilizing your biological rhythms can significantly enhance productivity.

Haruki Murakami's Work Routine

Renowned Japanese novelist, Haruki Murakami, is a prime example of how routines can fuel creativity. Murakami’s routine involves waking up at 4 am, working for five to six hours, and then running or swimming in the afternoon. This rigorous routine, coupled with a healthy lifestyle, allows him to maintain a high level of productivity and creativity.

Unleashing Creativity: The Power of Mind Mapping 

Women contemplating as she writes in journal.

Mind mapping, a visual technique for outlining information, has revolutionized the process of idea generation. A mind map is a diagram that connects ideas around a central concept, mirroring the way our brains naturally work. By harnessing this method, writers can visualize their thoughts, connect ideas, and unlock creativity.

How to Utilize Mind Mapping for Creative Writing

  1. Start with a central theme or concept. Write it in the center of the page.
  2. Generate related ideas or subthemes. Draw lines from the central concept to these ideas.
  3. Expand on each idea with further related thoughts, drawing lines to connect them.
  4. Use colors, symbols, or images to make the map visually stimulating and memorable.
  5. Keep expanding and connecting ideas until you have a comprehensive picture of your story or topic.

J.K. Rowling's Use of Mind Mapping

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, used a form of mind mapping to plot her books. She sketched out chapter details and character connections, which allowed her to weave an intricate, interconnected narrative that enraptured millions. 

Whether you're conjuring a world of wizards or crafting a persuasive article, mind mapping can be a powerful tool to generate ideas and organize thoughts. Embark on your creative journey with mind mapping and discover its transformative potential.

Leveraging Technology for Writers

As a creative writer, enhancing productivity is often about eliminating distractions and streamlining your process. Fortunately, technology offers a wealth of productivity tools specifically tailored to writers' needs.

Distraction-blocking apps like the kōno productivity system can help you maintain your focus on the task at hand. Grammar and style checkers, such as Grammarly, can help refine your writing and reduce editing time.

Neil Gaiman and Evernote

Proclaimed author Neil Gaiman is a prime example of a writer harnessing technology to streamline his writing process. Gaiman uses Evernote, a note-taking and organization app, to consolidate his ideas and research. This tool allows him to access his notes across devices, ensuring he can write whenever inspiration strikes.

The Impact of a Healthy Lifestyle on Productivity

Man and woman working out on elliptical machine at gym.

Writers take note: there is a compelling link between our physical health, mental well-being, and productivity levels. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can lead to a 25% increase in job performance. The reason? Healthier individuals often have more energy, better focus, and improved cognitive functions, all of which contribute to increased productivity.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle for Boosted Productivity

  1. Regular exercise: Physical activity enhances cognitive function and boosts mood, thereby improving productivity.
  2. Balanced diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can fuel your body and mind, leading to enhanced performance.
  3. Ample sleep: Quality sleep is essential for cognitive functions like memory, learning, and creativity, all of which are crucial for productivity.

Maya Angelou's Lifestyle Habits

Renowned author Maya Angelou was a testament to the power of healthy habits. According to interviews, Angelou maintained a disciplined routine, starting her day early with a simple, healthy meal before heading to a hotel room she rented merely to write. She believed in the power of solitude and quiet to stimulate creativity, often working until the early afternoon. Her commitment to physical health and mental well-being undoubtedly contributed to her prolific career. 

Amplify Your Craft: The Power of Writing Communities

Three writers meeting at a cafe.

As a writer, motivation and accountability can be hard to maintain when working in isolation. Joining a writing community offers a solution to this challenge. These communities provide a platform to share ideas, gain feedback, and foster a sense of responsibility toward your writing goals.

Benefits of Joining a Writing Community

A writing community is a collective of like-minded individuals who share a common passion for writing. Being part of such a group can significantly increase your motivation to write regularly. It also holds you accountable, ensuring you meet your writing goals and deadlines.

Finding and Joining a Suitable Writing Community

Online platforms like Meetup and Scribophile are great resources to find writing communities that align with your interests. Libraries and local colleges often host writing groups as well. Don't be afraid to try out a few until you find one that feels right for you.

Consider the Inklings, a renowned writing group that included authors such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. This community facilitated rigorous critique and camaraderie, significantly impacting the members' productivity and success.

So, whether you're a budding writer or a seasoned author, consider joining a writing community. It could be just the boost your writing needs.


The effectiveness of these solutions presented in this article will vary from writer to writer. Hence, it's essential to experiment with each of these methods to find which one best suits your personal writing style and creativity flow.

Remember, productivity isn't a destination; it's a continuous journey. As writers, we must constantly adapt and evolve our strategies to keep pace with the dynamic nature of creative writing. Productivity and creativity can, indeed, coexist and lead to outstanding writing outcomes.

And productivity is more than just a buzzword; it's a fundamental component of successful creative writing. With the right techniques, we can write more, write better, and create the remarkable stories we've always dreamed about.

So, dear writers, find your unique productivity approach, embrace it, and let the world experience your creativity.

Ben Jacklin
LinkedIn Profile

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