The Impulsive Writer’s Productivity Secret: 3 Reasons to Write What You Want

Carol Tice

I’ve got a wager for you: Bet I’ll make more money this month because I’m writing this blog post right now.

How does that work?

Well, I feel like writing this post now.

I just got the idea for it, I love this topic, and I’m all fired up to write the details down before I forget them.

So I’ve dropped everything — including some other pressing deadline writing due to my freelance clients — to jot it down right away.

I’ll probably push the envelope on my other deadlines a little to get this post done right now. But it’ll be worth it.

Also, if you have ongoing relationships with editors and you’re not writing for a daily newspaper or something, deadlines usually have some wiggle room.

It’ll be worth skating the edge on that and coming back to those assignments a bit later.

Why?

There’s a simple fact of life as a writer:

You should write when you’re inspired.

You’re in the zone. In the mood. Whatever you like to call it.

You want to write when you’re in this state as much as you possibly can. Not just because it’s enjoyable, but because it’s good for your business.

Here are three benefits I get from jumping on a piece of writing when the mood strikes me that I believe lead directly to higher earnings:

  1. More efficient. We all know that we write faster when we’re seized with the urge to write something. If I just wrote this blog topic down now and came back to it another day, I’d no doubt labor over it longer. I’d struggle to recall what I found so exciting about it originally for a bit, then I’d look at my brief notes and try to flesh it out. It would be work, instead of an intuitive, enjoyable activity. Doing it now means less time spent, and that means I’ll end up with more billable work hours.
  2. Better writing. The number-one thing that helps writers earn more is the quality of our work. By writing when you’re in the mood, you’ll often get a better result. And that is what clients pay for — brilliance. It’s simply easier to produce that when you are writing something you want to write. Great writing leads to more and better-paying assignments — or on a blog, more subscribers who might want to buy your stuff in future.
  3. More fun. Ever have the experience of looking up from writing and being amazed that hours have flown by? They say that “flow” state is incredibly health-promoting and emotionally fulfilling for us. You want to spend as much of your life as you can in that state. It’s simply more enjoyable. And when you’re more full of joy, you’re going to attract more great assignments.

Sometimes, writers tell me they’ve carefully mapped out their schedule for the week of when they will be writing. I smile and nod. If that works for you great…but I never do that.

I have to-do lists and schedules, but I try to throw them over when the writing muse hits me.

Having a rigid schedule means more writing that feels like work and less inspired, impulsive, fun writing. I’ll take the latter.

Do you throw over your deadline schedule to write on impulse? Tell us how you handle it when the urge to write something other than your pressing assignment strikes.

38 Comments

  1. Alissa Johnson

    I really draw reassurance from this post. I use to feel so much pressure to have a set schedule and a task list guide my work, but I just get overwhelmed. When I let my productivity be more free flowing, my work is usually better and I feel more relaxed.

    • Carol Tice

      Glad that helped you!

      And I read your linked post — wow, sounds like you are having a very interesting summer!

    • Alissa Johnson

      Memorable to say the least! Thanks for checking it out.

  2. Sara

    It was great to read what I know intuitively – write when the mood is upon you. It also belongs to the ‘do what you like and love to do and that makes a difference to the world’. I find it impossible to jam a right brain activity like creativity into schedules and deadlines.

  3. Janey Goude

    This resonated with me, as it did with so many others! Especially the jotting down enough to jog my memory later, only to find an inspired idea turned laborious task. Thanks for reminding me the importance of following those instincts when they hit.

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