Day Five: Back on Track

Yesterday’s catch-up efforts went well. I logged a total of 1,026 words, which put me right where I needed to be. Now that I’m back on track, I can hopefully start inching a little higher–instead of 500 today, I’ll aim for 550. If that goes well, maybe I’ll shoot for 600 tomorrow.

In some ways, the work I got done was also a bit frustrating. My catch-up 500 words happened earlier in the afternoon, written in two ten-minute sessions spaced a couple hours apart. The latter 500 was done in one sitting but ended up taking an entire hour.

So what’s with the big discrepancy in productivity? The longer I write, the more I find that’s just the way I work best. Big breaks between writing sessions let me recharge, puzzle through action and dialogue, work out plot problems and find ways around roadblocks as I get to them. There’s less need to plan ahead when I’m doing little chunks at a time, which means when I go back to the project, I’ve got stuff sitting in the forefront of my mind, just waiting for me to write it down.

On the other hand, When I sit down for a solid chunk of writing, I have to do all that problem-solving while I’m sitting there, and it slows me down considerably.

If I ever became a full-time writer, I’d probably want to work in small chunks, flittering to and from my laptop as I work through things. It’s beneficial in multiple ways, because I sometimes work better at other things in small chunks, too. Folding the laundry? Just do one basket, then take a break to write a paragraph. Then we’ll get to the second basketful. Weeding the garden? Fifteen minutes in this section, then take a lemonade break.

This method works well for lots of people, too–not just those with flighty attention spans like me. My mom struggles with chronic illness, but working in little 15-minute sessions once an hour gives her plenty of time to rest between jobs, as well as letting her regain her focus so she can stay on task.

I haven’t figured out how to work writing spurts into my normal schedule just yet, but I’ll continue to puzzle over that and see where I can squeeze it in. After all, if I could get to where I write 1,000 words a day in four ten-minute bursts scattered through the whole day, I’d get through this project a lot faster.

For today, I’ll try to break my 550 words into three ten-minute chunks and see if I can scatter them through the afternoon to free up my evening for other work. We’ll see how that goes.

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