Productive Writing

The difference between productive writers and the rest is action. Just  like exercise. The more you workout, the more you can. The more you write, the more you can. Like exercise, the best way to improve writing productivity is to schedule time each day; and, then, use it.

In Seven Suggestions for Becoming a More Productive Writer CWRU professor and author Mano Singham, offers ways to improve writing quality and quantity.


Writing a little every day is better than waiting for big chunks of time to materialize in the future. - Mano Singham, theoretical physicist and director of UCITE 

Following are suggestions from the work of Singham and others:

  • Turn off automatic email arrival notification. Then, log two hours of scholarly writing before checking email. Check only  at spaced intervals at least two hours apart.

  • Set a daily quota - time or words or pages. Like exercise, start modestly and work toward a goal.

  • Tell someone (colleague, spouse, friend) your weekly quota and report to them each week.

  • Keep your web browser off until the daily writing quota is met.

  • Develop multiple writing projects. Choose one that feels best, then move on to more challenging pieces.

  • Stop writing before you’re exhausted so you have energy/creativity for the next day.

  • End abruptly. Unfinished ideas and sentences jump start writing the next day.

  • Write and rewrite. Jot down ideas, quotes, links, sources even in fragmentary form. Just put down words and leave polishing for later.

  • Create deadlines to push project progress. Offer to give seminars and conference talks on your scholarly project, and work-in-progress talks to your departments. Then, you must finish on time.