It’s always good to improve. Whether you’re a woodworker, a painter, or even a writer. Each person is better than s/he thinks s/he is, but there’s always room for improvement.
One of the facets of writing that I want to work on this year is productivity. A huge part of productivity is discipline. The simple act of putting one’s butt in a chair and tapping away at the keyboard (or speaking into a microphone if you dictate) whether or not you want to do that will go a long way in meeting your productivity goal(s).
Beyond discipline, though, what can one do to get the words out faster and still have those words be vaguely intelligible? Improving your typing speed and accuracy is one way. Another is to use the ‘sprint’ method.
I first heard of the ‘sprint’ method in regards to the Agile software development methodology. A full discussion of which is beyond the scope of this article and the interest of its author. The theory behind a sprint, though, is a block of time during which you’re 100% focused on a specific task. Coding, painting, washing the cat…whatever.
I started Book 2 of my new Sci-Fi series two days behind schedule. Assuming 50 chapters in this volume, I needed to write three chapters per day (starting the 10th) to finish the manuscript by my self-imposed deadline of April 1st. Pacemaker helped me arrive at this plan and would have given me three, whole days of no writing at the end of the period.
On the 12th of March (Day 1 should’ve been the 10th of March), I wrote Chapter 1. It had 2,922 words across 11 pages, and I felt brain-dead at the end of it. I tried rallying for another chapter but woke up on the 13th not having done so. Speaking of the 13th, I wrote Chapter 2…a whole, whopping 3,685 words across 14 pages. I also had an appointment to visit a friend, and leaving that visit I felt energized and ready to write another chapter. My mind–on the other hand–had different plans, and I woke up this morning (the 14th of March) having only written one chapter on the 12th and one on the 13th.
It was time to make a change.