Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are you a productive writer?

I squirmed uncomfortably, the bare bulb swinging precariously above my head in the small darkened room. "Um, could you rephrase the question?"

"No. Just answer honestly."

"Could you tell me exactly what you mean by productive? I mean, isn't that kind of a subjective question?"

My inner creative manager (who always feels guilty if I'm not getting my quota in) threw up her arms and gave up. After all, we had a lot to get done, and this wasn't helping, was it?

The truth is, productivity is subjective. A professional writer working from home is going to be kicking out a lot more printed word than, say, a single mom who has a job, several kids, and is taking night courses. Productivity takes many shapes and forms. If that's so, the question becomes, what does it mean for me to be productive, and how can I achieve the best productivity I am honestly capable of?

With that in mind, I purchased The Productive Writer this week. I thought it would be a good way to define my own productivity this year. I've already been guilty of procrastinating of the worst kind—the busy kind. I do other things to avoid writing. I graded papers, I did market research, I even dusted my bedroom (which would have passed out from shock if it had been capable of that level of humanity)—it took many forms. Something had to be done. Thus the book.

I like structure and accountability, and I'm hoping that Sage Cohen's book will help me create it in my writing life. I'll keep you updated as I go. For now, how do you define your own productivity?


  1. Do you get points for writing when you don't feel like it, or when more than half of what you write gets thrown out or changed?

  2. As far as I can tell, I don't get points at all. : ( But I guess I'll be more productive!