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DiAnn Mills | Writing Tips: How to be More Productive

March 16, 2016

When I think of an unproductive writer, I think of a bowl of cooked spaghetti—limp, colorless, tasteless, no energy. It’s been submerged into boiling water and didn’t survive. None of us want to fall into that category when we can take steps to stay strong and avoid the vat of despair.

What happens when a writer realizes her career isn’t shaping up to what she dreamed?

How can we ensure our manuscripts are fresh, filled with vitality, and eagerly read?

Let’s take another look at the lifeless bowl of cooked spaghetti.

  1. Sometimes all a bowl of spaghetti needs is a little seasoning. It’s amazing what salt, pepper, and basil can add to the dish. When we sprinkle our manuscripts with a fresh edit, reach out to guest blog, or create an engaging Pinterest board, we add small but significant ways to add zest to our careers.
  2. When we have bad results, we take the time to evaluate the brand of spaghetti we’re using. Maybe a new brand or promoting the one we’re using will give us better results. Is a website redesign necessary? A smart writer evaluates what she is doing and how she is progressing.
  3. Does your spaghetti taste blah, overcooked or undercooked? Adjust the cooking time and taste the results. What about your manuscript? We writers can get into the habit of turning out work much too quickly, and the quality slides down the garbage disposal. The opposite is true too. If a writer overthinks every word and sentence, creativity suffers. An under-edited or over-edited manuscript lacks freshness and originality.
  4. When we rush with our recipes, we can be forgetful and omit a simple step like draining the spaghetti. Spooning out excess water is like watering down a manuscript with too many adverbs, telling phrases, passive verbs, redundancy, weasel words, shallow characters … Need I say more?
  5. Creativity in our cooking endeavors means experimenting with different sauces. Perhaps a little olive oil and pesto is all you need, or a rich tomato sauce with chunky vegetables, or a creamy cheese. Exploring writing techniques adds dimension to our craft. Follow teaching blogs. Attend a conference. Seek out a critique partner or group.
  6. Promoting our culinary success means sharing our recipe techniques with others. A writer who gives back to those who are serious is blessed with respect and integrity.

How have you kept yourself from being labeled an unproductive writer? Share your thoughts so we all can learn.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at

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