Friday, February 19, 2010

Using Word Sprints


In the past week, as many of my last few posts have pointed out, I hit a sort of minor writers block. I was allowing myself to get distracted, and my focus was all but gone. Some of this related to being in a funk over my job, but I would peg the bulk of it on simply being unmotivated. I needed a jump start; one that copious amounts of coffee and reading failed to provide. I resorted to word sprints.

This is a tactic I picked up on during NaNoWriMo this past November. Essentially, you set a timer, and for that interval, you aren’t allowed to alt tab, pick up your phone, read your RSS feeds, etc. I know it is a fairly simple concept, but it works for me. Fifteen minute bursts have gotten me back on track, and I am meeting my daily word goals in less time.

My biggest concern with this strategy is the quality of work. Many people during NaNoWriMo would engage in word wars, where the specific goal was to type more than the other person, regardless of quality. I am trying to find a middle ground, as I am keeping track of how much I type, and setting goals, but also trying to maintain a level of acceptable writing. I am afraid that it will make for much more intensive editing, but being able to find a slew of words is helping me get past that blockage. It’s pretty much Drano for my writing brain.

Before I make this a permanent fixture, I plan to run a few short stories using only the sprinting method. If the quality of the writing is not up to my standards after a few attempts, then I will strictly use it on those distraction clogged days.

On another note, if I had an egg timer, it would most certainly get swallowed in the black hole that is my desk. To keep things uncluttered I have been using http://e.ggtimer.com/.

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