WMBTSG Day Twenty-Three (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)

Welcome to day twenty-two of the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create Your Own Writing Specialty and Make More Money by Kelly James-Enger.

Want to break into your dream market, make more money as a freelancer, or maximize your time? Specialize. When you develop a writing specialty, you set yourself apart from other freelancers, save time researching and writing articles and command higher fees for your work. Contrary to what you might think, you needn’t be a PHD, or recognized “expert” to focus your writing in a particular area. Your educational background, life experience, and interest in certain subjects can all be translated into a writing-related specialty.

Best of all, using your background and experience can help you get your foot in the door with editors, nab your first writing assignments, and build a lucrative career. In the second edition of Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create your own Writing Specialty and Make More Money (Marion Street Press, 2008), you’ll hear from dozens of talented, successful freelancers about how to break into the field, find and interview sources, develop relationships with editors, and treat your writing like a business. You’ll also find samples of 20 queries that nabbed assignments from new writers to use as templates for your own query letters.

You’ll also learn:
Why you should develop a niche of your own and determine which areas of your background can be mined for writing ideas:

  • What the top ten writing specialties are and how to break into and write about each one;
  • How to better market your work and research and write more efficiently;
  • How to find sources, research, data, and experts for articles; and
  • How to maximize your time and income—and make more money as a freelancer.


Kelly James-Enger escaped from the law in 1997, but don’t worry—she’s no fugitive. Since then, the former attorney has maintained a successful freelance career for more than a decade, writing for more than 50 national magazines including Redbook, Health, Self, Woman’s Day, Runner’s World, Family Circle, Complete Woman, The Writer, Parents, and Continental. She’s also the author of books including Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create your own Writing Specialty and Make More Money and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money.
Kelly lives in the Chicago area with her husband, son, and golden retriever. In addition to writing, James-Enger speaks at events throughout the country on topics ranging from health and wellness to time management. She’s a frequent collaborator and ghost-writer with experts on book projects and is an ACE-certified personal trainer. Visit www.becomebodywise.com for more information about her.


Today’s question:

Kelly was my inspiration for my habits of successful writer mamas section in Writer Mama. She is just so productive, it’s amazing. We can all learn from her.

Think about this for a few minutes: how could YOU be more productive and therefore more successful? What habits could you change for more prosperous and productive habits? Be gentle with yourself but clear, that you can and will learn from your past and apply what you’ve learned so far to a more profitable future. What new productive habits can you start tomorrow?

If this is your first post in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

You may post your comments until midnight PST on September 23th.


40 Responses to “WMBTSG Day Twenty-Three (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)”

  1. 1 Stacy September 23, 2008 at 4:02 am

    Lately it seems as if my writing career is a lot like my house, which I can never get organized or cleaned all at once — at least when I’m trying to do it by myself. There is always something I feel needs to be done that impedes that “whole house clean” feeling, and I rarely feel caught up enough to do something fun. I’ve been fortunate to have a steady flow of “bread and butter” writing assignments through the years, but it’s hard to get to a point where all the deadlines are met and there’s a block of time I can devote to the fun writing. To be more productive and move my writing to the next level, I think I’m going to have to call in reinforcements in the form of a babysitter. This writer mama is finally admitting that she can’t do it all without help and still accomplish her goals. My kids will appreciate having a mommy who is proud of her work instead of one who feels as if she can never get ahead.

  2. 2 Jennifer September 23, 2008 at 7:00 am

    First and foremost, I could choose to get up earlier rather than stay up late to write. I am more fresh and my brain works. Write down reasonable weekly goals and stick to them. Be realistic about what I can accomplish as a full-time mom of 2 young ones. Sometimes I find myself buried in tons of ideas and trying to make a dent in too many projects. This is a great recipe for Getting Nothing Done! Specializing sounds especially helpful.

  3. 3 Meryl K. Evans September 23, 2008 at 7:05 am

    I’m fortunate to be an organized person who gets things done. However, I am human, sometimes procrastinate, and do something else to avoid the thing that has me procrastinating. Since I’ve been bedridden for almost a week (driving me insane), I’ve been facing procrastination projects head on. I’m not a procrastinator, but the projects that take longer than a sitting do the most challenging. So I’m making an effort to spend one hour a day on the project that tends to send me working on other things.

  4. 4 Abbey September 23, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I can’t believe I’m about to share my biggest time waster, but it must be done. I often get distracted when I’m writing because…I’m trying to watch TV at the same time! Yikes – did I really just say that?

    I have a bad habit of putting the kids to bed, grabbing my laptop, and plopping on the couch. I need to commit to leaving the computer in my office. I know if my mind is less cluttered, I’ll most likely be able to write faster and more efficiently – especially when I’m on a deadline.

    I love my TV shows, so I just might need to invest in TiVo or DVR to successfully meet my goal!

  5. 5 Wendy September 23, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Taking Christina’s classes have given me an awareness of what habits I need to change and given me some great ones that are already paying off. Having deadlines, making the commitment to get something done each week, rough draft, first draft, final draft, query or cover letter, broken down into weekly increments has given me the structure I needed for more productivity. The other habit is always thinking of the next project, gathering ideas and resources,and looking for markets and really targeting specific markets, while meeting those weekly deadlines at the same time. I needed to commit to some structure and a very focused plan and the classes and Christina’s books gave me that. If Kelly’s work was part of the inspiration than I want her book, too.

  6. 6 Laural September 23, 2008 at 7:46 am

    I am productive when I have deadlines. I think I need to trick myself into meeting deadlines for myself, not just for an editor. There have been times when I’ve had three articles due, gotten them all done, felt great, and times I have not written much for 2 months. If I’m capable of the former, I need to figure out how to do it even if the deadline is not brought on by someone outside of me. I found writing groups worked really well (still someone outside, although not an editor), but currently I’m on my own. Okay, I should take up the challenge. Write not just goals, but due dates next to those activities. Yes.

  7. 7 Stefanie September 23, 2008 at 8:21 am

    I suffer from the procrastination bug. If there is not a deadline lurking, I have a hard time sticking to a schedule. I definitely need to put myself on a more rigid schedule and stick to it. I should probably also write down some goals and post them somewhere visible so that I see them everyday.

  8. 8 cookerycontent September 23, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Just when I think I’ve cleared the clutter, I can barely make room near my desk for a file of new material. Today’s clutter includes a section of newspaper from last May. How did this land on my desk? I can’t remember why I’ve held on to it. To be more productive and successful, I need to part with paper that I don’t really need, or that I can easily store electronically. This doesn’t mean that I can work in a sanitized setting. That would cripple my flow. The information stream is constant and I need to do a better job managing order to keep track of works in progress, queries to trace and publications to study.

    Watching the clock more closely demands attention, too. My clock hangs above my desk and I pledge to stay honest with it. A one-hour dedicated block of query writing time means one hour not checking e-mail, not reading inspiring but distracting newsletters, and not surfing blogs. Start tomorrow? Today’s question gives the nudge to be more productive today.
    –Mary Ann

  9. 9 Mary Jo C. September 23, 2008 at 8:43 am

    I am a huge procrastinator! I busy myself with non-productive work, like surfing the web for writing and submitting tips, new markets and guidelines, blogging ideas, etc. Of course the knowledge is there and sometimes the article itself is printed and filed neatly, but I don’t put it into practice!
    The Internet is a huge time waster for me, I don’t know when to stop. Before I know it, I’ve spent and hour or more just reading – not WRITING! Maybe I should go back to writing by hand, away from the World Wide Web?!
    I would also like to set a mandatory writing time routine (after dinner, go in, lock the door) and have my family stick to the “no interruptions” rule (because I quickly succumb to guilt from my boys’ pleading eyes!)
    BTW: love Kelly Enger, I own her 6 figure freelancer book.

  10. 10 Cara September 23, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Only 200 words, huh? Okay then, I’ll pick three: set goals, prioritize and multitask. This past summer, my sister and I were faced with the daunting task of emptying our parents’ house in three weeks. At first it seemed impossible, but here’s how we attacked it. We broke down the task into manageable pieces, and set daily goals for achieving our end. That was step one.

    Each day, we had to re-examine our goals, and prioritize the individual tasks, so if we didn’t quite make it to the end of our list that day, at least the key items got done. This works for writing too. The pieces with deadlines looming the soonest shoot right to the top of my daily to-do list, while the “would be nice, but not absolutely essential” items often get jettisoned, in the interests of time.

    And finally, (and I learned this one from my computer architect husband!) I’ve learned to perform multiple tasks in parallel. I might brainstorm my next work while washing the dishes, or help my son with his homework, while listening to his favorite rap tune with him, packing his lunchbox, and Google chatting with my sister in England!

  11. 11 Heidi September 23, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I think my productivity is generally good, but it could be better. I’d get the biggest impact out of increased efficiency, although I’d love to find more writing time, too (but this mama needs her already limited Zzzs).

    Three ways to increase my efficiency are:
    1) take time to develop templates and checklists for frequent tasks (query development, source/reference lists, interviews, manuscript submission) — New habit: start with the template
    2) re-organize my hard drive to make info easier to find (I spend time digging around unable to recall what folder holds the goods) — New habit: Use file-naming convention to facilitate retrieval
    3) prioritize tasks and match tasks to time slots rather than relying on a single jumbled to-do list (which allows me to pick and choose tasks I like over tasks I dislike)

    Oops — I hit something that posted my comment before I was finished.

    New habit for #3: Establish work schedule on Sunday night, matching all tasks to time slots (even the tasks I dislike). Leave enough empty slots to flexibly respond to editors and kiddos.

  12. 12 Cheryl M September 23, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I can be quite productive when I have an assignment or a deadline. It is when I have to come up with everything on my own that I find e-mail or household stuff take precedence. I just have a hard time writing query letters. It seems like a lot of work for an uncertain payback and sometimes editors don’t even respond. So, I guess I should set a goal for myself – maybe a query letter a week?

  13. 13 Cat September 23, 2008 at 10:11 am

    I am a huge procrastinator–i always make my deadlines, but it’s always a crunch at the end. After years of squeezing work time in around my kids’ schedules, I have a very difficult time scheduling blocks of time to write and sticking with them. I run errands, I do laundry, I surf the Web, and I lose the hours I have while my daughters are at school. I have tried taking my computer to a coffee shop, and that does work better–fewer distractions than here at home. But even then I will look through e-mail, organize my calendar or to-do list, make notes on non-deadline projects, rather than get down to work. I think I need to try working at home with no internet. I also need to make marketing part of my work schedule, as planned time, with specific goals.

  14. 14 rowena September 23, 2008 at 10:23 am

    I am working on this right now, especially since I am hoping to have a very full November with Nanowrimo, Nablopomo (is that the right name?) and also painting a picture a day, which I’m doing now, but don’t really want to give up. I must give up something. I can’t give up the kids, so…

    I need to be very organized.That means planning ahead of time. Writing an outline. Painting backgrounds in preparation. Setting up a schedule for the maintenance parts of these activities.

    I need to know what other responsibilities I have, to be realistic with my time. So more scheduling, being very precise, realistic and aware of how I spend my time and how I must spend my time to achieve my goals.

    I need to let go of the things that are secondary. That includes dishes, elaborate dinners every night, cleaning, keeping track with social networking sites, commenting on blogs, useless television. So, to prepare for that, I’m getting paper plates (sorry) freezing dinners ahead of time, telling my friends and communities that I will be busy ahead of time, and trimming down my addictions to waste tv. Although, I have found that scheduling a few beloved programs in the day is a great way to relax. Also getting ready for a purge and deep clean of the house before hand, so there will be less clutter to mess stuff up while I am busy.

    I am going on too long, so I’ll stop here. But there’s more.

  15. 15 Rosemary Lombard September 23, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I was just reading the introduction to Professors as Writers from Amazon’s sample, which is useful for nonacademic writers, too. Author Professor Boice has spent 20 years researching and teaching about writers’ block and techniques for productivity. I need more self-discipline and help with the problem of writing in easily distracted spurts, so I paid attention.

    Here’s the bottom line of what works best: 1) establish initial momentum with “unself-conscious techniques” (presumably like right brain, ten-minute exercises or maybe little essays for Christina’s drawings?); 2) fix the writing situation/place “to ensure regular writing productivity”; 3) use techniques [from later chapters] to control cognition and emotions that block you; 4) have “social support, social skills, and an adaptive sense of audience.” “Writers who remained in a schedule requiring an hour or less a weekday of writing mastered a sequence of strategies for remaining truly productive over long periods of time” (probably many tricks that you mention). Initial momentum, he says, is easiest but doesn’t last long without the rest, especially the place and schedule. Boice has an annotated bibliography.

    My first step is to address the schedule issue and make it stick. Shut up, turtles, it’s writing time.

  16. 16 Julie P September 23, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I write on the computer. I also do everything else on the computer. Which means that when I, ahem, should be writing, I’m often distracted by my research, my outlook ding, or a reminder of something on my to-do list. I’ve found the best way for me to focus and be productive is to find a spot that isn’t hot, like my gym or Barnes and Noble (where I absolutely refuse to pay for wireless) and work there. I can shut off the world around me (or, at least, the world with in my laptop) and really work.

  17. 17 Missy Roth September 23, 2008 at 11:13 am

    My biggest time trap is the computer. I have what my husband and I call Internet ADD. That’s where you get to the page you want but see something else cool on that page, so you click on it and it takes you to another page where you see something cool on it… So I will limit my time for surfing to the bare minimum.

    I definitely need to get myself up earlier and that will change once the kids start school again tomorrow (Hurricane Ike caused them to miss 8 days). I’m going to set a schedule since I will have 6 hours without them as wonderful distractions. I should be able to fit in quite a few hours of writing per day.

    And the biggest thing will be to not answer the phone, especially when I know I’m in a groove!

  18. 18 Jen September 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I could be more productive by lining out my goals and making a commit to better manage my time and priorities.

    I work best in the afternoon and know that I don’t want to write in the wee hours of the morning or late at night when I need to go to sleep so I can wake early with my one and two year olds.

    Because I’ve narrowed down my best writing time, I need to arrange the rest of my day around that. I still need to get up early—not to write, but to clean house, tend to Jazzercise business, empty the dishwasher, or maintain my blogs.

    This way, when the kids go down for a nap in the afternoon, I can head straight to my chair and start writing. Once my writing is done, I’ll feel free to get on with the rest of my day and evening.

    Starting tomorrow, I can come up with a schedule for myself that involves getting up earlier and making better use of free time when I have it.

  19. 19 gb September 23, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I think my problem is simply lack of organization and time management. I need to save the mindless housecleaning chores for the evening when my brain isn’t as fresh and doesn’t need to be (I can watch “House” just as easily while folding laundry), and write during the day when my mind is sharp(er) and the baby is napping. I really think I need a flexible schedule to follow each day. Nothing rigid (my toddler and baby laugh at the idea), but just a loose outline that will allow me to meet all my responsibilities without guilt, chaos or mind clutter. I’ve already cut my internet surfing time (just this week) and I feel more productive already.

  20. 20 Mar Junge, c3PR September 23, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    To be more productive and successful as a professional writer or author, writing has to be a priority. There were days when my husband would come home after picking up the kids from preschool and everything in the house was exactly how it was when they left that morning – including bowls of cereal on the counter and piles of laundry in the hallway. Since I refused to sacrifice my writing time for household chores, the family had to pitch in. And if I went on a school field trip during the day, I’d work late into the night to make up the time.

    Delegating to other professionals is a one way to increase profitability. I have a great virtual assistant and three writers to whom I subcontract. There are times when it would be easier just to write it myself than to outsource, but in the long run, that means I’m spending more time working IN my business instead of ON my business. Starting tomorrow, I will be more disciplined about delegating.

  21. 21 Erika September 23, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    This is the perfect question for me today because I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I need to schedule time for JUST writing – not emailing, researching, websurfing. I start out writing, then I have a pressing need to look something upon the Internet related to the writing… Before you know it I’m checking email, then realize I really need to book a ticket for my trip to my niece’s baptism next month. Now I’m surfing multiple sites looking for the best deal. Wait.. I haven’t bought a present yet? What do you buy for a baptism? I wonder if there’s a website that has suggestions… You get the point.

    Today I scheduled time to JUST write from 8:30 – Noon. I finally have both kids in school full time and this is my time to NOT waste! I wrote over 4000 words in my novel – I’m sure that’s a record for me!

    So, for me, it is schedule the time and use it as I intended it. I can squeeze in all the rest (email, research, etc.) into little time segments here and there. I need dedicated chunks of time to actually think, create, and write.

  22. 22 Erin September 23, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Two things to make me more productive. One fun, the other not as fun.

    My biggest productivity weakness is leaving the priorities that I donèt want to do last. I need to do those first, and then browse blogs, then work on my fiction, then work on social bookmarkingémedia sites.

    A productivity booster is … having a glass of wine, or other beverage while working after already working. I do my writing work AFTER my other job, and it takes a bit to unwind,de-stress. If I tackle my writing in this pleasurable way, I feel less pressure and stress, making my mind clearer.

  23. 23 Katrina September 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Hmmm…I know there are ways I can improve my productivity, but I’m also generally pretty happy with my productivity, but I do have issues with burnout. I like to challenge myself, but I also struggle with burnout when I do. In August I increased the number of assignments I accepted to see if I could do it and turn out quality work. I’m immensely pleased that I succeeded but I also didn’t do any writing for a week after the final one was approved. I didn’t want anything to do with writing; I just wanted to veg, so I lost a week of productivity. I’m still analyzing the month to see what I could do differently next time so as to avoid burnout and the productivity hit that results. But I don’t know what I could start tomorrow….

  24. 24 Celestial Goldfish September 23, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    The internet is a huge distraction. Through LiveJournal, I follow a ton of blogs of authors and agents, and I subscribe to RSS feeds of even more. Plus, there are others (like the Writer Mama blog) that I go to through bookmarks. It ends up taking me a full 1-1.5 hours just to catch up in the morning! I don’t even know how much time it sucks up during the day. A lot of it is good information on the publishing industry, but it still slows me down, especially when it’s mixed in with my other interests.

    There are also evil procrastination sites like Fark.com. I have an established rule during Nanowrimo that I’m not allowed to go to Fark until I have at least 1,000 words done for the day.

    Sometimes my “breaks” during the day are when I step away from the computer to do chores. It gives me a chance to recharge, rest my eyes, and brainstorm.

  25. 25 Tricia S. September 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Rules…I hate rules, but I have to have them. My two biggest have-to’s to keep me productive are word count goals and a timer. Oh, and chocolate. So that’s three.

    Honestly, I put on a timer for one hour and during that hour I DO NOT check email, surf the web or get up from my chair. I write and that’s all I do. At the hour mark, I set the timer for 10 minutes and I can do anything I want for 10 minutes–surf, email, potty, eat chocolate or walk around the house. When the timer rings, it’s back to the chair.

    My word count goal is my fetish. I set a goal for each session. Now don’t get me wrong, they can be CR**, but at least I’m writing and I can go back and edit. But if I’m writing my brain is churning and sometimes the most unexpected things come from a churning mind.

    Okay, there’s a fourth. Music. I am much more productive when I’ve got a CD on. If I’m writing something introspective, I need something slow and easy. If I’m writing something cheerful and fun, I need some awesome country music.

  26. 26 TammyE September 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Man oh man, the “P” word. I tend to be productive in fits and starts, then I ‘rest’…..unproductively. In the past, this has been related to scheduling and my inability to say no to a myriad of so-called ‘opportunities’. When I work at home, I multi-task too many things and I try to fit in more housework, or I start with housework. I inevitably run out of time for writing.

    My number one productivity habit for this year is to LEAVE MY HOUSE! I did it today. I got ready, packed up the laptop and books and took my son to school, which is eight miles away. Then, I went down the road a bit to a very quiet country cafe with wi-fi and had some coffee and wrote until I had to leave for an appointment. So, I got in a good two and a half hours of work.

    At this point in my life, the best thing I can do for my productivity is to plan, prepare and stay away from my house for at least two to three days a week.

  27. 27 Pam September 23, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Working full time and taking care of the husband and son leaves me little time to write. I have to force myself to be organized, but it is a challenge. I try to write every morning, when the house is quiet, but when I have to be at work at 630 am, i can’t bear to get up any earlier that necessary. If I set aside a time during the day, everyday, I could be more productive. I am great at making lists, but not as great at getting things done on that list.
    If I could work less hours (in a perfect world) I could devote more time to a profitable writing career. It’s an endless cycle. If I work too much at my full-time job, I don’t have time to write and be a profitable writer. If I work less hours and have more time to write, I may not become a profitable writer and end up having to work more at my full-time job.
    I have learned that by taking time to enjoy my son and husband first, then work second, I can make everyone happy and more productive.
    A new habit I could start tomorrow, is set a certain time aside for me, and me only. If I have to lock myself in a room for 20 minutes, that’s OK. I know if I spend uninterrupted time with the boys before I work, it will be understood and accepted much easier.

  28. 28 Ginny September 23, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Ah, productivity. I’ve not been great at that lately. Too much time surfing online, thinking about doing things and not doing them. I desperately need to do two things: 1) Organize. There is stuff all over my house (at least it seems that way to me) and I am letting it distract me and drag me down. 2) Prioritize. I hate rules, but I love lists. I hate schedules, but they work. And that’s exactly what I need. I intend to start sitting down every evening, figuring out what I got done that day and what needs to be done tomorrow, then making a manageable list for the next day. I can’t keep jumping from one thing to the next without getting anything done.

  29. 29 Amie H September 23, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I am going to make a run to the Dollar store for a timer – so I can give myself a time limit for e-mails and other tasks that eat into my writing time. I’m also going to stock up on little notepads and pens and play Easter Bunny – hiding them throughout the house and car and stroller and in my bags. How many times have I had an idea and then searched in vain for something to write on or with. And I’m going to get some file folders and binders. When I’m organized I always get more done.

  30. 30 KristyG September 23, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Internet is a big obstacle in my productivity. It is so easy for an article to catch my eye, and then I am taken away from the task at hand for at least a few minutes. One goal I have been wanting to work on is getting up just a half hour earlier in the morning to get more done. However, I’m pregnant right now and have moved into the uncomfortable sleeping stage, so I savor every little bit of sleep I can get. Plus, I know I’ll be getting less sleep in the future, so I feel like I better get it in now while I can.

  31. 31 karen September 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Organization is my key to productivity. When the clutter is cleared, I can get down to business without distraction. I’ve learned to go into “sock mode” when I’m at home. That is, after the kids go to preschool, I walk right past any dirty sock, dish, floor, whatever the sock of the day may be. But at my writing desk, productivity goes down when clutter content is high. Organizing my time is the other key. I found six extra hours this week (that I would’ve sworn to you I didn’t have) for an activity that wasn’t writing. Honing in those extra hours are key to being productive.

  32. 32 Laura September 23, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    What habits could I change? First, I’d start watching a lot less television. I don’t mean not watching certain favorite shows, but eliminating the mindless TV surfing that I often do to unwind after work. What I should do after work is to change clothes, and then spend some time writing. On days when I know I have to get somewhere after work, (doctor’s appointment), I can grab the writing bag I put together, and work there. The good part of all this is that I am already in ‘work mode’ when I get home. I just need to stay there until after writing time.

    Another thing I know that I could do to be more productive, is to get myself a small radio or c.d. player for home. At my day job, I know I am better able to focus, despite the noise surrounding me, when I put my headphones on and turn on the music. I slip into work mode much easier to music. I know the same would apply at home, and with my writing desk in the corner of my living room, I need the help focusing.

  33. 33 Stephanie Craig September 23, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I need to stay away from my e-mail. I am a part-time medical transcriptionist and a freelance writer at home, so I check my e-mail a lot to see my progress on projects or awaiting new clients. Usually, I don’t need to get back to my employer right away, but I am like a kid waiting for Christmas cards in the mail.

    Also, I think if I wrote down goals, I could achieve them better. I think I forget about some of my non-deadline projects because I put them on a backburner. If I wrote them down, I am sure I could get them done a lot quicker.

  34. 34 nathalie September 23, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    That whole 24 hours in a day thing gets me every time. Also the fact that I waste a lot of it. Reading all these comments has been helpful for both ideas and just knowing that I’m not the only one who sets up my own roadblocks. Recently I’ve realized that by not being clear about my priorites, I’ve been taking jobs that actually cost me and don’t move me forward in my professional goals, I was just so used to being thankful someone said “yes!” that I forgot to ask myself “is this right for me?” And just because I CAN do something doesn’t mean I need to. I am just coming down from a major project today and can spend the next few days cyrstallizing my priorities and then set specific goals and a road map for how to get there. I think posting that stuff would be helpful too.

  35. 35 Mama K. September 23, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    The key word for me is FOCUS. To be more productive, in writing, or whatever, I have to consciously FOCUS. As a homeschooling mother of 5 children, with a husband who has a home-based business, my attention is in high demand all day. There are always a multitude of tasks to attend to in the schoolroom, in hubby’s office, in the kitchen, on the homefront.

    In order for me to make time to write, I have to FOCUS on writing, at least some time each week, as it is virtually impossible to do it each day. That means that I have to set specific, intentional goals to put pen to paper on certain days, at certain times. If I don’t make it a priority, it won’t happen.

  36. 36 Christine September 23, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    What could make me more productive? Hmmmmm…. Let me count the ways. I’m assuming hiring staff to care for children, housecleaning, errand running, etc is not really the point here.

    I need to institute some new habits for getting the work started. Once I’m at it, I have no trouble staying focused myself. Constant interruptions do cause problems so helping my children institute some new habits of fetching themselves occasional snacks and playing solo now and then would help. Catching those rare down moments and switching quickly into writer mode. That would help the most right now.

  37. 37 The Write Elizabeth (Elizabeth Humphrey) September 23, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I could be more productive by structuring my time better. For example, instead of checking e-mails constantly, set a time for checking e-mails and responding…and sticking to it. If I did that, I think my work flow would be better and there would be fewer distractions. I also could structure my time to include a time to develop pitches, and so on. I think one thing I could start tomorrow is looking at my day, getting the smaller, easier tasks taken care of–even if part of a bigger picture–and include my family in some of my productivity plans…I’d like to be prosperous and productive with them, as well!

  38. 38 PeggyD. September 23, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I agree with all those other women who said checking e-mail is a time sucker… I would have to add internet browsing/research to that as well. I spend way too much time rereading submission guidelines and finding information, I lose my chances to write articles! I am starting to get into a routine with my kids and writing while my Kindergartener is in school and my near-two-year-old naps. And then after they go to bed, as well. I have been much more productive and focused since starting that rigid schedule. Good luck with staying focused and being productive ladies… it’s tough, but possible!

  39. 39 Sarah K. September 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    One of my biggest faults as a writer – procrastination! I tend to put things off in the hope of perfecting them and continue putting them off until the last minute. Somehow I always manage to meet deadlines, but always at the last second. So one thing that could improve my writing career is to stop procrastinating. I think that by setting deadlines and then steadily working towards meeting them, I could be much more productive. Also, I love the research aspect of writing…maybe a little too much. Sometimes I spend way too much time on the Internet or get so involved in the subject matter that I end up losing out on a lot of writing time. That’s one habit that I am really trying to break.

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