Join ACFW |  Forgot Password |  Login: 

Ten Tips to Help You Write More Words

By Carrie Turansky

Whether you’re an aspiring author or multi-published, it’s often a challenge to meet your writing goals. Here are ten tips that will help increase your writing productivity.

1. Write with instrumental music playing in the background. I recently saw an informal survey that found those who listened to music while writing were able to write more words per day than those who didn’t. I like to write with instrumental praise music or movie soundtracks playing in the background. Some of my favorite soundtracks are Prince of Tides, The Cider House Rules, and Little Women.

2. Set a timer. Try this trick. Set your timer for fifteen minutes, and tell yourself you will focus and write for that long. Keep writing and moving ahead in your story without going back to review or revise. Then take a short break and set the timer again. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in short periods of time like this.

3. Outline the scene first. Before you start writing think through your scene, choose your POV character, the mood and setting and goals for each character. Create a list of descriptive and sensory words you could use in that scene. I find taking a walk and thinking it through first helps me a lot.

4. Set a word count goal. Word count goals can be motivating and a helpful guide. I know if I meet my goal each week, then I’ll finish my book on time. That relieves some of the pressure and helps my creativity flow.

5. Write at your most productive time of the day. When are you the most productive and creative? Set aside that time to write, and don’t allow email, Facebook or Pinterest to eat up your best writing time. Turn off your email program and use your less productive times of the day to check email and social media

6. Wear earphones. Earphones are a great way to block out noise as well as pipe in your favorite music. I have some very comfortable rubber tipped earphones that I wear, and even when I am not listening to music I put them in. I’ve found it helps my family realize I am working and won’t hear them, so they are less likely to interrupt me unless it’s something important.

7. Give yourself permission to write fast and messy. Turn off the internal editor who questions every word, and let your creativity flow. I tell myself I don’t have to write it perfectly, I just have to get it down. You can only revise what you’ve written. So tell yourself it’s okay if it’s awful. You can fix it when you revise.

8. Find an accountability partner. Team up with another writer and commit to checking up on each other. Share your goals and exchange emails at the end of the day to report your word count. Don’t ask them to commit for life, just try it for a set period of time. Knowing someone is waiting to hear how you’ve done that day can be very motivating.

9. Reward yourself for reaching your goals. Why wait until you’ve finished your book to enjoy a reward? Set several short-term goals and celebrate when you reach them. Do something you enjoy when you meet your weekly word count or half way point.

10. Get a comfortable, chair, clothing, and drink. Feeling comfortable while you write is important. Invest in a good chair, wear comfortable clothes and stock up on your favorite drinks. Some authors find changing locations around the house gives them a mental break and it also helps prevent back issues.

I hope you’ll try some of these tips and they’ll help you reach your writing goals!

Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of 9 novels and novellas. She write contemporary and historical romance and has been a member of ACFW since 2000. Her latest releases are A Man To Trust and Christmas Mail-Order Brides, which won the Carol Award.

This entry was posted in Advice, Authors and writing, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Ten Tips to Help You Write More Words

  1. Joanne Sher says:

    These are fabulous tips, Carol! I use most of them, but I think the others would be VERY helpful to me!

  2. Hi Joanne, thanks for stopping by to read these tips. Trying something new can help you speed up. I often focus on just one or two of these at a time, and that’s been helpful for me.
    Happy writing!

  3. Johnese Burtram says:

    Great tips. I’ll have to try the music one. I usually shoot for quiet, but that is hard to come by sometimes.


  4. Gigi says:

    Very helpful list. Thank you much. I would like to post a link to this on my blog later this week. I am President of the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association and I know this will help our members. Thanks.

  5. Cathy Gohlke says:

    Great tips, Carrie–thank you! I love the idea of wearing earphones to help family members realize we’re working, even when not listening to music. I’ll have to give that a try. Soft music in the background helps me block out other things, too. By the end of the day I feel calmer and more happily relaxed if I’ve had some music playing part of the day.

  6. Great ideas, Carrie! I love the one on changing positions. I move around the house, depending on which window has sunshine pouring through! Thank you for this post!

  7. Great tips for a writer returning to the craft too!

    Thanks & God Bless.

  8. Kate Dolan says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. It seems like different strategies work on different days for me, so I could keep this list handy and just keep trying til something succeeds!

  9. Hi Gigi, and anyone else who’d like to share this link…please do! Glad this is encouraging and helpful to so many of you.
    Blessings and happy writing,

  10. Great post! Wonderful tips!

  11. Thanks, Sherri! It’s fun to share these ideas with my writer friends. I’m sure you could add to this list.
    Blessings and Happy writing,

  12. Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Hi Martha, you’re welcome! I love encouarging other writers! Hope you will try some of the tips.

  14. Dawn Turner says:

    Excellent tips! I could add one more. I’m sure some have noticed my high daily word counts when I’m really working on something. Those counts don’t always come easy at first. I have found that I often struggle with the first 1-1.5K a day because I find myself having difficulty getting my head fully into the story and concentrating. Once I get past that point, I’ve generally got myself pretty INTO what I’m writing and can then go for 4, 5 or 6K without difficulty. If I stop before I get into that zone though, I only get maybe 2K if I can really eek it out. I just have to persevere through that difficult stretch of getting my head in the right place. Don’t know if that will help anyone else, but I wanted to throw it out there just in case it might help someone.

  15. Thanks for sharing, Carrie. We all need tips sometimes to keep us writing!

  16. Kristen says:

    Goalsand accountability really do make a big difference. In January and February, I wrote more than probably the previous six months, largely because of ACFW’s Novel Track group. Without that stated goal and a team of accountability partners, I would not have a finished draft by now.