You, the reader, may be a successful writer who is only reading this article to scope out the competition. You may be a writer in theory, and one with a lot of good ideas, but fail to produce content in practice. If the latter is true, or if you simply want to increase your output, then read on.

I will begin by clarifying what this article is not. It is not an article on how to write with flair and unique insight, at least not primarily. Rather, this is an article on how to work to your potential consistently.


1. Keep a tidy work space

The environment in which you work is not simply a reflection of your work ethic: it affects your mind in turn. A cluttered work space will distract you from your work, especially if it decreases your mobility. Ideally, you should have a room devoted entirely to writing. If not, at least clear away as many items from your room as you can to make yourself freer, physically and mentally.


2. Keep to a schedule

Most people work a 9 to 5 job, without taking breaks whenever they please. Why should it be different for writers? Of course, there are ways to use this greater flexibility to your advantage: after 50 minutes of work, you may take 10 to make tea and go for a walk. Do not take greater liberties with time than this: do not spend 20 minutes "surfing", except in your lunch break. Of course, depending on your productivity and pay rate, you may be able to work somewhat less than this.


3. Read

It should go without saying that an effective writer is well-read. Consider reading for at least an hour each day, perhaps after dinner. To read only online articles is significantly better than reading nothing: indeed, they may provide highly pertinent ideas for what you plan to write. You may want to look at a website like Feedly, which will give you a stream of recent articles from sites of your choice. To reduce strain on your eyes, though, pick up a book from time to time.


4. Come back to what you have written

Assuming that you cannot afford to hire a proofreader (unfortunate indeed), you will have to do this task yourself. It is, of course, significantly harder to be impartial with your own work. If possible, leave your work for a day or two before returning to proofread it. You will be more accurate this way; if you read it shortly after completion, you are more likely read what you expect to be there, not what is actually there, and miss errors. It helps to read aloud, so keep a jug of water handy.


5. Be healthy

It should go without saying that pain reduces your productivity, and back pain is an ever-present risk for writers. You should wake early enough to do stretches before you start work, and do them again in breaks and at the end of the day. Consider running or going to the gym twice a week: you will develop the muscles you need to keep yourself upright at your desk. Hopefully, you will be more productive for having read this article and return for more. I expect to publish another article in this vein next week.