Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How to Be a Prolific Writer

This isn’t my first rodeo, you know. I’ve been posting to this blog for about six months, but I have six years of prior blogging experience. Yet, this blog has quadrupled in size in about one-tenth of the time it took to grow my previous blog. How did it happen?

Well, it wasn’t by accident.

And it wasn’t luck.

Prolific Writer - Tomatoes

Photo credit: Tim Sackton (Creative Commons)

The secret to building an online platform through a blog is simple: You have to be prolific.

“Prolific”

Marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity.

(Via Merriam-Webster)

I’m about to do something crazy. I’m about to divulge my secret. And you may not like it. You may not believe it. You may even scoff at it.

But if you do this, it will grow and stretch and challenge you as a writer. And it will work.

I hope you attempt to be more prolific with your writing. It has tremendous pay-off.

Your Guide to Prolific Writing

Here are three simple steps to writing more than you ever thought was possible (and how to do it):

1. Over-commit

Say what?

That’s right. I want you to bite off more than you can chew. Commit to more than you think you can do. And then do it.

No, I don’t want you to sacrifice integrity, but I want you to stop living in fear and hedging your bets. As my friend Blaine Hogan says, only scaredy cats “under-promise and over-deliver.”

Your job is to over-promise and over-deliver.

You can do it.

If you have faith. If you are confident. If you believe.

I do this by taking on more freelance gigs and guest posts than I think I can handle. I know my limits here, but I also try to test and stretch them. As a result, I grow.

2. Write all the time

On your iPhone. In your notebook. On your computer.

Even when you don’t feel inspired or think it’s dumb. Even when you’re busy and tired.

Write, write, write.

Always be capturing ideas (I use Evernote for this). Always be imagining.

Every circumstance and experience is a potential piece. The more you do this, the more naturally it will come.

The Muse is speaking; are you listening?

3. Use your “byproduct”

The guys who wrote the book re:work taught me this.

Do you know how Kingsford Charcoal started? Henry Ford invented it by using leftover wood briquets from his automobile assembly line. He used his “waste” to create a new product. And you can do the same.

If you’re constantly writing, you can re-purpose pieces of content for other outlets. For example, two of my posts this week are from email exchanges I had with readers last week.

Similarly, you can recycle blog content by tweeting or re-posting an old article from your archives.

Don’t work harder; work smarter. Use what you’ve already written, polish it, and share it (again).

This isn’t cheating. It’s being efficient.

Being prolific is like rolling a snowball

At first, this may be hard. Being prolific may feel like a discipline (and it is). But it gets easier. I promise.

As with most skills in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And the better you do it. Because you’re sharpening yourself as you do it.

So start rolling that snowball. Start building momentum. Before you realize it, you won’t have to push so hard.

It’s like planting seeds. One day, it’ll be harvest time.

What tips for prolific writing do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo credit: Tim Sackton (Creative Commons)

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that I literally make pennies off of anything you buy as a result of reading this.

Further reading: The Dilemma of the Prolific Writer

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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