Since I’m not a full-time writer, although I aspire to be and that is the long term plan, I try to make the most out of the time I get to write. I’m not always the best at it. Sometimes I go days with out writing. Sometimes I’ll write, but only do a few hundred words in a day, even though I’d much rather be doing 2,000 plus words a day at least five days a week.
I’ve heard from a couple sources (and forgive me for not being able to cite them here), that writing sprints can help improve word production. I’ve given this a shot for the past 10 days and I am thrilled with the results. You can see the immediate impact it’s had in this chart, which is my monthly output since September 2014 (when I started tracking my daily word count).
In general, with the exception of the NaNoWriMo spike in November, I’m lucky to get 20,000 words produced in a month. You can see, however, with the June point, I’m well on my way to 30,000 already and it’s only June 12 as I write this post.
One June 2, I started doing sprints. They’re timed to twenty minutes each. During that time the only thing open on my computer is Scrivener and there may or may not be music playing (that’s totally based on my mood as it doesn’t impact the words one way or the other). My office door is closed, and Will is great about respecting that. It’s 20 minutes where the focus is on getting the scene written. When the timer goes off, I finish the sentence that’s in progress and I stop for break time. Usually the break is between five and ten minutes during which I check email, look at Facebook, stretch my legs, chatter with Will… whatever needs to be done. Then, I repeat it all again.
I love the sprints. The zone I get into while writing these sprints is exhilarating. Something clicks in my brain so that it knows not to look for distractions will the timer is running. Hopefully I find when I go back and read scenes that I’ve sprinted that they are quality words.
So far my longest string of consecutive sprints has been five, though most days I do three or four. Weekdays in particular three or four seems to be what fits my overall schedule the best. I’m interested to see how far I can push it on the weekend. In fact this weekend I plan to put this to a test. I’ve got four scenes left to write for Hat Trick 3 and I’d love to get those done so I can begin editing/revising.
As you can see from the chart, my average sprints sit right around 750 words/20 minutes. I’ve spiked close to 1,000 words/average one day and a couple days fell under 700. If I can keep the sprints going it will be ideal as I get into revising HT3 because it means I can schedule two or three sprints a day so that I make progress on other projects while revising.
I’ll show you how the chart looks at the end of the month and let you know how this is working out because by then I’ll also know how the sprint words read. If you want to keep up with things on a daily basis, you can visit the work in progress diary where I track words and what I’m writing.