Monday, February 28, 2011

I decided to try something new...

Hi all! Just want to remind you all about the competition for Treasures of Carmelidrium. You have until next week Wednesday to enter.

Now I feel free to continue with my blog post.

I have finally touched my toe to the water again. After many distractions (main one being a charming book called The Sword in the Stone), I decided that today is D-Day.

But... I have decided to give another strategy a try.

Usually, I write and write and write for hours on end. Sometimes I write around 5000 words a day. But then I started to think. At about 2500 words I get tired and the last words come out much more slowly. I mean... I take roughly 2 hours to write the first 2500 words. I take about 4 to get the second half done. Then I stop because my mind struggles with more.

It's kind of like sprinting over a long distance. Yes, I get a lot done fast. But past a certain point, I am forced to stop by the burn in my lungs and the fatigue in my muscles.

On the other hand... I also know that I can run a lot further by running full speed for a shorter distance, taking a restful walk, sprinting walking etc.

So I was wondering if I can't apply that to my writing. I mean. It took me just over 40 minutes to finish 1100 words. So... if I spend 20 on something else, will I be able to get the other 1000 done in more or less the same time?

And if I do, will I be able to get the same word count done in the next session?

Most importantly, will I be able to maintain the flow in my writing?

So... I decided to test my writing this week. I want to see if I can maintain high daily word counts without burning out.

What do you think are the odds?

How do you write? Long sprints like me? Or do you write shorter bits with regular breaks?

23 comments:

Trisha said...

I think with NaNo last year I was writing for maybe 2-3 hours a night, and then taking the rest of the night to do other stuff. I didn't want to burn myself out completely, and that method seemed to work out nicely.

Right now I'm editing, so I don't have any writing stats to share. ;)

Connie said...

I take breaks when I write. For example, when I reach a "stuck point" or I'm getting tired, I take a break and fold laundry or some other mundane chore. It keeps my hands busy and gives my mind the break it needs to re-start the creative flow.

Let us know if the breaks help you.

Maria Zannini said...

5000 words is terrific, but I can see how you can get tired toward the end. Sprinting and resting makes a lot of sense.

I can't sit for long periods of time due to a disability, so I'm forced to take multiple breaks. And that in itself is distracting. I feel I have to start all over again each time.

But your way sounds ideal.

Bish Denham said...

I take regular breaks every 30 minutes or so to stretch and flex else I would become one huge painful knot. And not much good comes out when I'm in physical pain.

Em-Musing said...

Sometimes my brain is brimming, other times not so. I just wake up and for the creativity that flows each day...and I'm grateful.

Jolene said...

That's a great idea - can't wait to hear if it makes a difference!

Marian Allen said...

During NaNo is the only time I sit down and pound out those words, and I can't do 5000 words except on my best days! Hat off to you, lady!

Most of the time, I write it snatches, in between other obligations. I love the days when I have nothing else to do, so I can write, snack, write, walk around, write, eat, write, do laundry, write.... Luxury!

Cherie Reich said...

You'll have to keep us updated on how it works out!

For me, I tend to write based on what I want to get done. If I have a flash fiction piece, I'll sit down and write that. A scene in a novel or short story, I'll write that. I don't often look at the time or word count as much as what I want to accomplish that day.

SM Schmidt said...

I like to write in short bursts. I taper out at fifteen minutes but then an hour later I'll have another short burst.

The worst is sitting down with a fixed slot of time and trying to work around the time to write. I waste half my time trying to get in the mood and panicking that I'll run out of time if I do get a good idea.

Book Owl said...

I usually write for long stretches without breaks. When I do take a break, it's cause the internet distracted me or I literally cannot write anymore.

That'll be awesome if breaks work for you, I've never tried it though. Good luck! :D

M Pax said...

Wow. You are quick. I don't think I'm that fast, but I don't really time it. I write until I hit a wall then stop to think.

And it depends on the day. Revisions don't add up to a high word count usually. Revisions probably account for more of my writing time than writing something new.

Wishing you success with your new strategy. :D

VR Barkowski said...

There are so many amazing things going on in the blogosphere, it takes my breath away. There aren't enough hours in the day to keep up with all of them.

Once I start to write, I can't stop to take breaks. I realize I should, but breaks destroy my concentration. I usually just keep writing until my eyes can't focus any longer.

Tracy said...

That's what I do. Set myself down for 30 minutes at a time. Then getting up and doing something else for a little while. Not only does it keep me from getting burnt out, but usually my brain still mulls over the plot while I'm doing something else . . . so the next 30 minutes of material is already in my head and ready to go when I sit back down.

Devin Bond said...

I write in pieces. My mind works better like that, though I try to write non-stop.

Colene Murphy said...

Hmm. I find I have to do most everything in chunks or I get burned out too fast. Read blogs, take a break and read emails, read more blogs, take a break and check FB. Same with writing: Write, write, write, check email. Etc. Seems to help, and I can work longer that way at a steady pace. Good luck!

Jen Chandler said...

When I'm in the middle of a story, I write for long periods of time whenever I can get them! That usually is on the weekends when I can sneak away to a bookstore and lose myself in words. Or I'll sit at work and type as fast as I can between phone calls!

Nate Wilson said...

I write sort of like my track career. I'll make it about 800-1000 meters (a.k.a. words) at a pretty good clip, take a short break, maybe churn out another 400 if I haven't pulled anything, and then sort of crawl the rest of the way. Then I'll take a week or two off to recover before my next attempt.

One of these days I'll have to start getting in a short jog every day so my fingers will run faster and with fewer hurdles.

Lynda Young said...

It varies for me. I have a minimum 1000 word a day but I usually try for 2000. I'm impressed you can write so much so fast. Sometimes when I'm in the zone it happens that fast for me too, but usually it's a whole lot slower.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, Misha! 5000 wpd, that's wonderful! I can see how you would be mentally exhausted by the end of that. I write in bursts of usually 700-1000 words then I stop and do something else.

Kari Marie said...

5000 words a day? Wow. I can get about 750 - 1200 per day. I write for an hour in the morning. That's it. When I try and write more, I get ahead of the muse and spend days waiting for her to catch up. So, I stick with my schedule.

Good luck with your changes!

Hart Johnson said...

I think your odds are pretty good. I work full time, so the only time I try for long periods are the weekends during NaNoWriMo and I have the same thing happen... flows fine for about 2 hours, then slows WAY down. I think it's like the words are gravel headed for a funnel... they will keep flowing, but if you stop them for a bit and shake it all down, then there is more right there at the mouth of the filter again.

N. R. Williams said...

Every person is different. I have to challenge myself at times, not always. But after all the edits on my book and then the blog book tour I was plain tired. So I haven't written anything. But the call is teasing me now and I'm planning out my days to best get with my muse for a date.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Misha said...

Good luck Trisha!

Hmmm... Connie, I should maybe try some mundane tasks too. Perhaps the blogging will take up too much concentration...

Maria, I can imagine how regular breaks can break the flow, especially if you're in the middle of a train of thought. That's why I don't budge out of my writing before I finished a clear-cut portion of work. :-)

Bish, pain does have a way to take over every space in one's mind...

Em, I write like that too. The problem is that I burn myself out on my creative streaks. I'm trying to regulate that so that I can write more consistently. :-)

Thanks Jolene! Stay tuned. ;-)

Marian, that dream-day sounds wonderful. May you have one soon. :-)

Cherie, I think that's where the wheels come off in my writing. I never know what I'm going to finish before the day is out...

Schmidty, I know the feeling. I had it often at university. Finally, I gave up and dedicated certain parts of my day to writing. If something came up, I gave myself extra writing time later. :-)

Owl, I usually write like that. Looooooooong stretches. But three or four days of long sessions wipe me out completely.

M, I generally don't time myself either. I just noticed recently that I take longer and longer to finish the longer I wrote, so I decided to check. Yesterday, I took a longer session the third time, but then I finished almost 1500 words... :-)

VR, I always worry about my concentration too. On the other hand, my breaks might come in handy when it comes to my POV switches. I will have to see. :-)

That's what I'm hoping for, Tracy.

Devin, it's so funny how I'm trying to write like you when you try to write like me. ;-)

Sounds like a good way to write, Colene.

I write like that too, Jen. :-)

That's how I write too, Nate. Except that every week I don't write will add pressure as 30 April approaches...

Lynda, I can write really slowly too. That's why I'm trying to change my routine. :-)

I'm trying to write in bursts too, Sharon.

Kari, I leave my muse behind too. That's what the breaks are for. :-)

Great analogy, Hart!

Sounds wonderful, Nancy. Can't wait to see what you came up with. ;-)