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Productivity Lessons from Three Great Authors

As a high school student, writing is an essential part of your education. Whether you’re working on essays, research papers, or creative writing projects, writing well is a valuable skill that will serve you throughout your academic and professional career. But staying productive and motivated can be challenging, especially when juggling multiple assignments and extracurricular activities. Too often, young writers think that famous authors aren’t like them. But, in reality, every writer struggles to maintain motivation and productivity, whether they are working on a novel or an English paper. In this post, we’ve compiled some productivity lessons from three famous authors: Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Maya Angelou. By following their advice, you can learn to write more efficiently and stay motivated, even when the going gets tough.

Stephen King: Read a lot and write every day

Stephen King is known for his prolific output and dedication to his craft. To be as productive as he is, try reading a lot. King believes that reading a variety of genres and styles is an essential part of being a writer. By exposing yourself to different writing techniques and styles, you can learn a lot about writing and find inspiration for your own work. As King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

King advises writers to write daily, even on holidays, to stay productive. This can help establish a routine and keep your writing muscles in shape. He sets a daily word count goal of 2,000 words. Having a specific goal to work towards can keep you motivated and help you make steady progress. King also advises writers to write first and edit later. As he says, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” This means getting the first draft out without worrying too much about quality. Getting your ideas down on paper can help keep your writing momentum going. Students should operationalize this by finding ways to incorporate writing into their studies, even when there isn’t a formal writing assignment. Like any other skill, writing flourishes in consistent practice.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Write every day and surround yourself with like-minded people

F. Scott Fitzgerald, best known for his novel The Great Gatsby (even though This Side of Paradise is a superior novel) was a firm believer in writing every day. He set a goal of writing 1,000 words daily, which helped him stay on track and make steady progress on his projects. To stay productive, Fitzgerald also believed in surrounding himself with like-minded people. This means finding others who share your passion for writing and creating a supportive network. This can include joining a writing group, attending writing workshops or conferences, or simply sharing your work with friends and family. As Fitzgerald put it, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” For students, Fitzgerald’s words underline the importance of clear targets. When working on a major writing assignment, students should break ephemeral goals into tangible targets. For example, rather than putting “work on research paper” in your planner, put write 150 words of my introduction. Momentum comes from clarity.

Maya Angelou: Embrace your creativity and keep a positive attitude

Maya Angelou, best known for her poetry and autobiographical works, believed in the power of creativity and positivity. She believed that everyone has a creative spirit, and that writing is a way to express that spirit. To be more productive, Angelou advises writers to embrace their creativity and let their ideas flow freely. She also advises writers to stay positive and not let setbacks or criticism get them down. As she puts it, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

To stay motivated, Angelou suggests setting achievable goals and celebrating small successes along the way. This can help you build momentum and feel more confident in your abilities. She also advises writers to find a space where they feel comfortable and inspired to write, whether that’s a quiet room, a coffee shop, or a park bench.

Closing Thoughts

By following the advice of Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Maya Angelou, you can become a more productive and successful writer. Reading widely, setting specific goals, and surrounding yourself with like-minded people.

Writing is just one part of a successful student’s toolkit, though. We want students to develop a well-rounded foundation of executive functioning skills. To learn more, please check out our other posts for ideas on how to help your child grow and develop executive functioning skills. Executive Function is what sets us apart. To learn more about our flagship one-on-one academic coaching program, reach out today!

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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