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Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls for Writers to Avoid

When you find time to write, you want to make sure you’re making the most of whatever time you have. With that in mind, here are Sage Cohen's productivity pitfalls you should avoid. By Sage Cohen

The top 10 productivity pitfalls you should avoid:

1. Unclear big-picture vision. Without an idea of where you’re headed, it will be impossible to set realistic goals and measure your progress along the way.

2. Lack of short-term goals. You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Knowing your daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals (both practical and aspirational) can help you keep moving in the right direction.

3. Fear. Risk is the hinge on which productivity turns; if we aren’t in danger of failing, we aren’t growing. When we let fear prevent us from taking steps that could bring our writing dreams closer, we limit our opportunities to succeed.

4. Trying to force productivity. Understanding your writing rhythms and honoring them is the key to finding and sustaining a flow you can count on.

5. Shabby systems. If you can’t find the latest draft of your essay, can’t keep track of what you’ve pitched and to whom, and don’t remember that great idea you had last week, you’re limiting yourself needlessly.

6. Lack of awareness about time: If you’re not aware of how you’re spending time, what your time is worth, how you might devote more time to writing, or what you intend to accomplish in each chunk of writing time you do have, you’re not maximizing this most precious resource.

7. Transition turbulence. Work to establish rhythms for everything from sitting down to the blank page to completing a writing session, so that shifts from one project to the next don’t leave you in a lull.

8. Perfectionism. If you wait for your work to be perfect, it (and you) may never leave your desk. Focus, instead, on professionalism—doing the best you can, learning along the way, and understanding that mistakes and failures feed every success.

9. Isolation. Without a social, professional and community context, we’re far more likely to get discouraged, lose our way and miss out on opportunities.

10. Negativity.
It’s easy to focus on the negative in writing and in life. But when we turn our attention to what’s working and what we appreciate from moment to moment, our sails turn into the wind.

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