In my handy daily planner, I keep a little form that I fill out each day or week with my writing goals. I enter when I want to begin and end my writing sessions along with the word count I’d like to see afterwards. Some choose to simply set the start and end times, but that usually results in a lot of people staring at a blank screen or out of a window and counting it as toward their goal. Sometimes staring out of a window is great. Everyone need to think about stuff, but your story isn’t going to be written by those birds in the tree.
As a writer, I not only want to write great stories, but I want to do so efficiently.
Devoting a specific timeframe to writing helps to keep me focused and setting a word count allows me to determine my productivity. This system lets me evaluate where I am and to challenge myself to improve over time. The logic is simple. If the first draft of novel will require 90,000 words and I currently write 500 words per hour (WPH,) it’ll take 180 hours to write the story. If I can increase my speed to 2,000 WPH, it’ll take just 45 hours.
The message I’m trying to send isn’t to write fluff to increase your WPH, but to set goals with quantifiable results in order to help you evaluate and increase your efficiency. If you’re not writing as quickly as you feel you can or would like to, figure out what’s slowing you down. Maybe you’re heading to Facebook too often, or your phone is constantly going off. Perhaps your cat is sitting on your keyboard.
Shut off your wifi. Set your phone to do not disturb. Get a dog. Whatever the reason, eliminate the distraction and improve.
My long-term goal with this method is not to simply increase the amount of words I can write in an hour, but to increase the quality of those words. I achieve this with planning, which I’ll go over in a later post.
I’d invite everyone who’d like to improve their writing efficiency to download our free Weekly Writing Schedule, available here.
What’s your greatest distraction from writing? Let us know in the comments below.