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Even though many of us are currently self-isolating with some spare time on our hands, let’s admit it: It can be a challenge to get things done, particularly complex writing tasks. This isn’t a lofty sabbatical in a sunny clime after all. It’s essentially a global quarantine, with multiple layers of uncertainty filtering down to each and every one of us. It’s all too easy to spend too many hours focusing on news updates or binging on Netflix.

But the beauty of writing productivity is this: even sitting down to generate one new page adds some much needed accomplishment and structure to the day. And structure matters. It helps to stave off depression, fosters a sense of well-being and gives definition to another day that, otherwise, has drifted away. 

For inspiration, let’s look at some productivity tips from famous writers who get it: 

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” 

~ Isabel Allende

One of the most common mistakes writers make? Thinking writing-magic will happen immediately and that simply sitting down to the keyboard guarantees a flood of meaningful work. Not so. The reality is that there is often a warm-up period during the writing process, when the words can seem horribly stilted and stiff. But if you keep at it and push past that awkward impasse, the muse may arrive. A stunning breakthrough is often the reward. 

“Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.”

 ~ Zadie Smith

This almost goes without explanation but one of the biggest dangers to a writer is distraction. Nothing is more tempting than social media or the sudden need to check your email while you’re in the middle of writing your piece. Set a timer or use a distraction app so you can write uninterrupted, without watching cute kitty videos

“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner.” 

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

We’re often guarded with others. It’s genuinely hard to share your heart and soul. Unfortunately or not, good and meaningful writing only takes place when you dare to bare. Find something to write about that you’re passionate about and not just something you think others will like. Dig deep and tell your reader about what’s important to you and why it matters.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

 ~ Maya Angelou

There is only thing worse than nagging, gnawing procrastination: not writing anything at all. We’re human with an innate need to express. If it’s not done fully, we can experience a soulful anguish like no other. Your story deserves to be heard. 

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

 – Saul Bellow

Many writers will attest to this: if you have an inspiration that grabs you and won’t let go, write it down. Keep pen and paper handy in several places, including your car and next to your bed. Those brief, fleeting ideas are worthy…and they don’t hang around forever. If you ignore it, you can be sure that someone else will grab it out of the creative ether!

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

 ~ Robert Frost

If you write from a distance, you’ll keep the reader at a distance. Writing offers a rare opportunity to open up, authentically express yourself and connect meaningfully with others. More than that, it gives your soul a chance to lead the way. When you’re surprised (and delighted) where your writing takes you, you’re on the right track. 

Try these effective hacks used by some of our most admired writers and watch your writing evolve in new and powerful ways. For more ideas on getting unstuck and moving forward with your writing, check out this article!