Talking Points about Yourself as a Writer So You Can Write Productively by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In Writers
Feb 16th, 2013

talking 3As writers, we can hurt or help our writing productivity by what we say about ourselves ‘as writers.’  It is pretty much like anything else – state what you want to be true and avoid as much as possible stating what you DON’T want to be true.  Also, use others’ perceptions and misperceptions of writers, as needed, to help yourself get your writing done.  Here are ten possible talking points about yourself as a writer. Choose the one you need at any given time – and keep adding to the list.

  1. “I’m currently working on some writing that needs my undivided attention.” This is a great one to use as a way of deflecting requests for your time, energy, and attention that will distract you from your writing.

  2. “I view my writing time as sacrosanct.” Real writers do, you know. Some people view their yoga time as sacrosanct. Others view their manicures as protected time. Others wouldn’t miss Monday night football in the fall for any amount of money. Can’t you protect your writing time in the same way?

  3. “You know how writers are – when we’re in the flow, we just have to keep going.” Other writers know this to be true and will allow you that time and space to stay in the flow. Those who aren’t writers will figure that this must be true, because writers are sort of mysterious to everyone else. Use that.

  4. “Writing is fun for me!” Whether this is true now or not, don’t you want it to be true? I can promise you that this is a better statement than “I hate writing” or “Writing is hard for me.”

  5. “Today is one of my writing days.” Frankly, you can use this one anytime because if you’re a writer, every day is one of your writing days.

  6. “That’s my scheduled writing time – let’s find another time (or not).” While there are times to be flexible, you don’t always have to be the person who flexes and thus flushes out your writing time. You may offer alternatives to the other person and they can flex – or not. It depends on what the priorities are for either of you. If someone really doesn’t ‘get it,’ ask that person if that’s what he/she has found to be true.

  7. “Right now, while my ideas are flowing, I want to capture them, so…” You just let this drift off – or you can end your sentence with a specific request such as, “…I want to capture them, so, I can’t really talk now” or “so, I need to get back to what I was working on,” or any other appropriate ending. You can also say everything you need to say by the expression on your face when you say, “so….”

  8. “I’ve got some of my pieces to edit today.” This helps you know that today is not a composing day; it’s an editing day. Since there is a definite difference between composing and editing, clarifying for yourself that today is an editing day helps to get you in the frame of mind necessary.

  9. “What are you writing these days?” Just as it is normal to ask other professionals what they are working on, no matter what their job might be, it is normal to ask other writers what they are writing. Find other writers to talk with about the very normal endeavor of writing.

  10. “I learned something today while I was writing that I never knew I knew.” Say it to yourself to reinforce how magical writing is in terms of letting us know what we know – or helping us know something we didn’t know we knew. And, say it to others to validate the power of writing.

Take note of your own language about writing. What do you say about the writing projects you are working on and what do you say about yourself as a writer? Is what you’re saying what you want to be true? Is what you’re saying supporting your writing?

© Meggin McIntosh, PhD (also known as “The PhD of Productivity”®). One of the ways that you can learn from Meggin about productive writing is through her 30 Articles in Just 30 Days program ( 

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