The Truth About Your Productivy

Memory is a funny thing. If you had asked me, I would have told you that in my daughter’s first two years, I didn’t write anything new—that all I did was edit works that I had completed before she was born.

I looked back through Facebook statuses from those two years, and I found a very different productivity story.

I was, in fact, amazingly prolific in the first two years of my daughter’s life. I took three extended workshops: Revise & Sell (also called Advanced Novel), Act Like A Writer, and the YA Novel In Nine Months. I revised a middle grade novel. And I wrote the first draft of a new novel. I found posts detailing word counts of between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Not to mention I wrote several blog posts a week and was a member of a critique group.

I wrote quite a lot!

Of course, the anxiety-ridden part of me suddenly thought: What happened? I’m not possibly that prolific now. So I stepped back and looked. I write two blog posts a week–one here, one for the Author Chronicles–usually totaling about 1,500 words. In the last 12 months, I have completed the first draft of a new work, as well as done two rounds of edits for my book that comes out this year. I have also done networking and social media work and I continue to attend the Writer’s Coffeehouse every month—and the occasional writing workshop. I’m now editing the first draft I completed earlier this year, and finished editing a short story that I hope to submit next month.

So I am still writing quite a bit! Of course, now my child no longer naps—back when my daughter was an infant, she slept for close to 5 hours a day. Now she is in school for only 2 hours a day, so I actually have less time to work than I did back then.

What’s the takeaway? I want to tell every writer out there that if you are putting in the effort, you are probably much more productive than you think. You feel like you’re not getting anywhere but I bet if you stepped back and looked, you would be surprised.

I sure was.

Are you ever surprised by your productivity?


  1. Yes, I am often surprised, always in retrospect. You’ve made a good point here. It’s important to remember that being productive as a writer isn’t just about the word count. It’s the business of writing that keeps us occupied, as well—the workshops, critiques, blog writing/reading (like now), getting out there on social media to help build platform, editing, revising, submitting, etc. We do have a tendency to put our focus on word count, and that isn’t the whole picture. Good post. 🙂

    • Kerry Gans says

      Thanks, Lisa! I think it is human nature to feel like we aren’t doing enough or aren’t being productive enough. Sometimes taking a step back and looking at what you have accomplished can help us feel we’re making progress!

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