Productive Writing Tips: Music, Goal Setting, Typing Skills & Writer’s Block

Office shot

photo credit: humbert15

At first productivity wasn’t a topic I paid much attention to. But over the last few years, I’ve noticed a few things really, really help in terms of productive writing.

I’ve written over 1,300 articles over the last 3 years. I’ve found that at times I can just blast through my task list and write a half dozen articles in one sitting, while at other times I couldn’t get a single word out.

It took some time, but I believe I’ve found a few things that help with being able to write productively. Here’s what I’ve found.

Being Accountable to Someone Else

In general, when I write for my own sites, I’m much less likely to get something done than when I’m writing for someone else.

The one exception is sites where I’m partnered with someone else. Once I make a commitment to another human being, I almost never ever break that commitment to deliver.

While this tip might not apply to everyone, if at all possible try running a website with someone else as a joint project. You might just find that you both get more done than either of you would for a solo project.

Increasing Your Typing Speed

Typing fast is crucial when you get in “the groove.” You want to be able to express your words as quickly as possible, without having your typing speed be a barrier.

I used to type incorrectly, using whatever random finger happened to be near the key I needed to use. Today, I never need to look at my keyboard at all and type at a ridiculously fast pace.

In the long run, getting your typing fingers down is crucial. A lot of content marketers still have to look at their keyboard or make excessive movements because they have bad leftover typing habits.

If your fingers aren’t on the home key by default, or if you aren’t using the right fingers for the right keys, you’re slowing down your typing in general.

Try downloading a free typing program from and improving your typing. Make it a point to not look at your keyboard at all.

Two more tips:

1. Consider learning DVORAK. While it won’t increase your writing speed, it’ll decrease your typo rate and reduce strain on your fingers.

2. Learn hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts whenever possible. You’ll work much faster with the keyboard than the mouse.

Music for Writing

This is perhaps the biggest tip of all. I’ve found that playing fast music helps me write, more than anything else. Even if I don’t feel like writing at all, all I need to do is fire up Daft Punk and my fingers are off and running.

Experiment with different kinds of music for writing. I tend to write about business, marketing and so on; and for me fast music works best. If you’re writing creative articles, perhaps slower or more classical music would work well.

If you haven’t paid attention to the music you’re playing while writing, you may be missing out on a very powerful tool for increasing your writing productivity.

Tips for Writer’s Block & Coming Up With Topics

Two tips here:

1. Subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs that you like. I’m subscribed to 7 different RSS feeds, only 2 of which I read religiously. Any time I need ideas for topics, it helps a lot to see what authors I respect have written about and use that as a basis for coming up with my own ideas.

2. Try doing Google searches for whatever topic you’re writing about. Again, see what others have said and use them as a springboard for your own ideas.

Note: Never actually steal or use someone else’s ideas. Just use them as inspiration for your own ideas. Often times seeing things from someone else’s perspective is all you need to get outside the “box” you’ve been thinking in.

These are a few of my personal tips for more productive writing and content creation. Questions? Comments? Reply below!


- Derek

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About the Author

Derek Pankaew
Derek Pankaew has been building internet businesses for over 5 years. He’s helped businesses go from startup to over $1 million per year, has built successful marketing campaigns in 4 different countries and has gotten new sites to over 30,000 visitors a month in under 60 days. His specialties include SEO, content marketing and increasing conversions.

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