The Productive Writer: an Interview with Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a fiction and freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.

We were delighted when Warnimont, a user himself, agreed to share some of his thoughts about habits and personal development.

What’s your own daily routine like? What habits do you cultivate and what benefits do you find in them?

I’d be lying if I said every day was perfectly structured. I try to wake up every morning and read. If I don’t read in the morning, I read at lunch. If I don’t read at lunch then I read while falling asleep. Ideally I read at all three of those times. It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in; reading keeps your mind calm and fresh. Not to mention reading is one of the few methods of continuous learning throughout life.

I’ll have tea and oatmeal in the morning or else I just think about eating until lunch. In terms of habits, I always take a short break every hour. You can tell yourself you’re being productive but the mind needs breaks, and walking during these breaks helps. I always eat my meals at the same times, and after lunch I do some yoga or go for a bike ride to get the juices flowing.

The most common advice we hear about writing habits is simply to write every day. But what’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination and getting quality work out of your time spent writing?

I’ve always maintained the idea that it’s best to not take pride in your work. Not that pride isn’t sometimes important, but I think that phrase is too often confused for perfectionism or taking forever to complete something. There’s nothing more detrimental to writing or creating anything than perfectionism. I overcome procrastination by writing absolute crap and being content with it. I might end up using a small portion of the work, or I might end up using lots of it, but I know one thing: I’ll always be ahead of the self-proclaimed multi-tasker or perfectionist.

Having too much pride in your work brings up too many questions, causing you to waste time and never ship your work. I usually think about Trey Parker and Matt Stone from South Park who make their shows in six days while most studios take six months to do the same. They claim that 85 percent satisfaction is ideal, otherwise you’ll never get anything done.

Are there any habits you’re trying to develop now? What motivated you to work on them?

I always seem to get overwhelmed by trying to develop too many habits at once, so a few months ago I started using and a few other to do list apps to check in on my progress for a few desirable habits. I started doing yoga every day, studying up on my German and meeting new people every week.

I was motivated to do yoga because going to the gym is boring and tedious. Yoga is calming and fun, and you get the health benefits. I started studying up on my German because I took it in high school and plan on going to Oktoberfest next year. It’s such an interesting culture, and reading the newspaper and watching movies in German helps me absorb and pay attention to the information even more.

I wanted to meet new people every week for one reason: I’ve found that showing up is the key to success. If you skip a writers club or meeting or networking event you might miss out on an opportunity that changes you life. I’m an introvert, but whenever I meet new people it seems that my career takes a new step.

Who or what inspires you? Whose habits would you like to know more about and why?

Nature inspires me most. There’s nothing good about sitting in an office all day and expecting your mindset to change. When you walk around outside every step you take is something new to invigorate your mind and spark your creativity. Even if you take the same walk every day, leaves fall, trees sway in a different direction and new animals and people are there to create a brand new story.

Ernest Hemingway also inspires me, not because of his writing, but because he actually got out there and experienced what he wrote about. It’s truly the reason so many people connected with his writing, because you could feel that he actually experienced the Italian front in World War I and watched bullfights in Spain.

Whose habits would I like to learn more about? Neil Gaiman. I know writers who create truly great art and others that pump out tons in terms of quantity, but he manages to do both.

[Tweet “”I’ve always maintained the idea that it’s best to not take pride in your work.” ~@writewithwarnie, writer, @coachdotme user”] provides everything you need to improve performance in diet, fitness, productivity, and life. Join others who are working on expanding their horizons by adding these habits to your dashboard:

  • Read: continuous learning and inspiration, every day.
  • Meet someone new: make it a habit to expand your social surroundings.
  • Yoga: get stress relief, fitness and other benefits from this powerful habit.