Secrets of increasing writing output: goal 100

This kitten's name is Little Stranger since his birth mother abandoned him and he was raised by another mother cat who had 5 tortoiseshell kittens (all girls). Little Stranger is now a grown up tomcat.

Little Stranger

My poetry is stored by files based on the year the poem was written. Currently that means both a physical file with paper and a file on a Scrivener project. Recently I was sorting through and organizing my 2015 poems. I decided to add a page with a list of all the poems in the file to simplify searching for a given poem. And so I discovered I wrote 37 poems last year.

That’s not a lot— but it is a good output compared to some years. My problem is my Aspie disorganization. Some days, weeks and months I write poems regularly— and then I get distracted by the many other goals and don’t write poems at all.

Recently I read a book called The Miracle Morning for Writers and was inspired to put together a morning ritual which includes certain activities (like exercise on my elliptical) and leads to a session of writing. This seems to be working if only I can keep it up.

So I’m setting a goal for my poetry writing this year. I want to make it to one hundred poems this year. I currently have only 16— but this morning I wrote three. OK, one was a senryu (haiku) that I’ve already tweeted under #2Apoems (Second Amendment poems), but I got it done.

How does your writing output look? If you feel you are not getting enough done, here are some things to help you do more.

  • Monitor your output. Make a chart or a list or something to make it easier to see how many writing projects — poems, short stories, novels— you have finished each week, month or year.
  • Set a reasonable goal for yourself this year— something that’s a challenge for you, but not something you feel is impossible, like writing 20 novels in a year when you have never finished even one.
  • Don’t just beat yourself up for the times you haven’t finished enough writing projects. Praise yourself for the times when you’ve done a lot. Perhaps set up an awards system— when you have finished 10 poems or three short stories, you can buy yourself a new ebook. Or chocolate. Or go to a movie.
  • Think about your work habits. When do you write? What triggers a writing session? If you only write when you feel like it, what things/circumstances tend to make you feel like it?
  • If finishing things is a major problem as it is for a lot of people with Asperger’s/autism, try shorter projects— poems, flash fiction, short stories. Things you can finish.
  • Create a ritual for a daily writing session, ideally in the morning, connected to your daily habits. For example, you might decide that right after breakfast you will sit down and work on your writing until you have finished one poem, or 2 haiku, or one work of flash fiction.

7 reasons to organize your writing area


Yes, that’s a kitten in the chair.

Does your writing space look like a garbage truck blew up nearby? Do you shrug it off and say all creative people are like that? Or blame it on your autism spectrum disorder or ADHD? Well, there are some good reasons you ought to consider a cleanup.

  1. A cluttered writing space makes it harder to get a writing session started. When you have to move things around just to have your chair clear enough to sit on without squishing the cat, you are more likely to procrastinate.
  2. A cluttered writing space slows you down. You have to dig through your paper pile to find important notes with things like your villain’s full name or what type of McGuffin he’s trying to steal. This adds to your frustration level, so you cut the writing session short.
  3.  A cluttered writing space wastes time. Things fall from the paper pile and you have to pick them up. Or you have to chase the cat away to keep her off your clutter.
  4. A cluttered writing space is depressing. It makes it hard to be happy about the writing you are doing. It makes you remember all the criticism you had as a child over your messy room or sloppy handwriting.
  5. A cluttered writing space can be a health hazard. Especially if you make a habit of eating in that space. When everything in that space is dusty, dirty, and attracts mice, it is NOT good for you.
  6. Losing an important paper due to clutter can kill a writing project, at least for a time. I had a space opera going once and I figured out the absolute perfect system of futuristic military ranks for my space force. Then I lost the paper. I was put off the project for years.
  7. A cluttered writing area is an embarrassment in front of your friends and family. It doesn’t look like a professional space where you can actually get work done. It can harm something very essential to you— your image of yourself as a serious and professional writer/poet.

As you can see from the photo above, it’s high time for me to start decluttering. More important, I need to develop systems and rituals that will help me KEEP my writing area less of a federal disaster area.

Cleanup starts tomorrow. I will be blogging about my efforts. Do YOU have a writing space bogged down with clutter? Come clean along with me.

Blog post:
Positive Writer: Clear the Clutter to Overcome Writer’s Block