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.
[spacer]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 word changer – seo tools centre 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.
[spacer]What’s your greatest distraction from writing? Let us know in the comments below.
Man. You write fast! 500 words an hour. I allot 4-5 hours per session and my goal is 300 words, lol. Wish I could write faster. I keep a similar log on excel so I also am able to calculate words per hour and keep a running tally of over and under words per day for a project. I don’t really do anything with that extra data but I keep it.
Thanks, Jeff! My goal is to be able to write 3k-5k/hr, and I think the big thing that helps increase my writing speed is planning what I’m going to be writing about. When I sit down without a solid plan, I’m probably in the <300/hr range, but when I've outlined my story (or whatever I'm going to be writing,) then it makes everything run smoother. There are some writers that can still write very well and quickly without a solid plan, though I'm not one of those lucky few.
The only catch with that is, if I originally write 500 words/hour, then I spend two hours outlining which allows me to write 1,500 words in an hour, have I really increased my speed? Mathematically, I’ve still spent 3 hours writing 1,500 words, so I didn’t actually speed things up, but I think that my writing is stronger when I outline first, saving me time with editing. In the end, I suppose the true goal is to increase the speed at which I’m able to write quality words that’ll last through the final edit.
On a side note about keeping the data: keep it up! The more data the better, even if you don’t have a use for it now. If you have records of all the variables that come into play when you write, then you’d be able to determine the best available environment for your writing.
Some variables that might be worth recording are:
When you combine data about your environment and how you performed in each of those scenarios, it can guide you towards being more productive when writing. For example, maybe you write best starting an hour after you get up from 6 hours of sleep, have taken a shower, had a small breakfast, are in a room that’s 72 degrees, have a cup of black tea, in an empty house with instrumental ukulele tunes playing in the background. And you’ll likely be very productive if it’s lightly raining outside. Oddly specific and some of those variables might not play too significant a role in your performance, but it’s still useful (or at the very least interesting) to know.
For the record, I don’t keep track of many variables at all. I’m just a big fan of analyzing data and seeing how it corresponds to things.