Drafting · Uncategorized

Theory of Productivity

“One on, one off and one in the wash.”  That’s the mantra our grandparents used when referring to their laundry, and that’s the basis of my new theory of writing productivity!  But while Granny had three jumpers, you’ve got three writing projects on the go…


This is your current project – your baby.  It’s a first draft so you carry it around everywhere, possibly in a battered notebook.  You’re twenty-thousand words in and you daren’t look back, you’re just pounding forward until you hit your target.  It may be rubbish, it may be a work of genius.  You’re just trying to get it down on paper.


This one’s much less stressful.  You’ve done the full draft and it’s either waiting in a drawer to cool off or you’ve started the edit.  You have a huge sense of satisfaction when you look at all that work, but you know there’s still some way to go.  You’ll be pruning and polishing this one for some time but it’ll be worth it.


It’s out there!  Not literally in the washing machine hopefully, but out in the real world, landing on the desks (or email inboxes) of publishers or agents.  This is your first child who’s left home, and you’re using some tough love.  Whenever she comes home she’s getting booted out again until she comes back holding that contract!  But you don’t worry too much about her.  You’re too busy with your one on and one off.  Hopefully she’ll make it, but if she doesn’t, there’s even better to come.

Why not try my theory of productivity and see if it works for you?  If you’re immersed in a big writing project with nothing to send out, why not try entering a small competition or online writing opportunity to give you something to look forward to?

Keep writing!




5 thoughts on “Theory of Productivity

  1. My one off has literally 5 pages. My one off has been handwritten for ages and simply gathering dust, and my one in the wash is at it’s second agent query. I have plenty short stories sitting in the laundry basket too. I think I’ll tackle the one on today!

  2. Hello Lou,

    Very encouraging! I love the “one in the wash” the prodigal child you keep booting back out of the house until the contract is signed! I might add, that sometimes, the child has to be, redressed, cleaned up and even put on a bit of diet––oh the toughest love of all And, yes, I’m smiling, too!

    Au reservoir


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