Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My New Writing Best Friend

Do you have one of these?

With all that's happened with my laptop as of late, and the need to up my word count productivity, I decided it was time to make a bold change in my approach to writing.



My usual writing habit would be to have my email open, my blog open with the blog roll visible, and my word document. I'd write until I bit my lower lip as I pondered where the scene should go, or whose POV I should put the next scene in, or just what description I wanted to include. As I pondered away I'd click over to check email, or visit a new blog post. In either case, my break from writing would ultimately be much longer than expected.


Getting smart, I pulled my sixty minute timer from my kitchen and brought it to my writing space. I decided to test timing my writing with one hour intervals of uninterrupted writing. If I started nibbling on my lip, I'd nibble away, but I wouldn't click over to email or blogging in that hour because the only thing I'd allow open on my screen would be my word document for the whole hour.


If you read my earlier post, you would know that I was averaging 3500 words in four hours. Well, guess what, with staying disciplined and not clicking out of my word document, I'm averaging 1150 words per hour. That means in four hours of pure writing with the timer on, I get 4600 words in. That's a significant increase. By blog hopping or email checking during my writing time, it cost me 1100 words.


My timer is definitely staying with me.

Surrendering to Him,

Eileen

43 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

SO smart! I've done the same thing. My uninterrupted writing hour is every morning from 5 to 6 (although not this morning...I'm too bonkers this morning to write...I figure one day off won't kill me). I turn off the internet completely. It does wonders for word count!

we produce at about the same rate. Roughly 1000-1200 words an hour. Good for you, Eillen! Just don't bite off that lip of yours, I'm sure your husband is quite fond of it. :)

DreamDancer said...

Great idea, Eileen!

DreamDancer said...

Great idea, Eileen!

Rebecca Nazar said...

Huzzah! Discipline is a wonderful thing.

Sarah Forgrave said...

What a great idea! I'm in the planning and outlining phase for my next novel, so I'm having trouble measuring my daily success. Unfortunately, that seems to give me the excuse to not stay with it as much as I should. Maybe the timer idea will work for that too. :-)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I drooled at "four hours of pure writing."
~ Wendy

Georgiana said...

Oh how I'd love four hours of pure writing! Of course, to do that I'd have to write between 1 and 5 am. HAHA!!! Literally the ONLY time I could work without family interruptions. At least I love the "interruptions"--all 4 of them--and have to realize that maybe someday I'll have the time to really work.

In that light, I love your timer idea!

Faith said...

And that's why I love my timer!

I know I wouldn't get nearly as much accomplished without it.

Joanne said...

Sometimes the most simple solutions are by far the best. Four hours of uninterrupted writing? Amazing what a little timer can do!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

Congratulations on your great productivity! The timer is a great idea.

When I'm writing, I don't allow for Internet breaks or email breaks. I work from 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours per day - whatever it takes to reach my 3,000 word daily goal.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Tamika: said...

Good for you Eileen! I haven't tried the timer, but I am learning that writing uniterrupted produces a significant amount of work.

NaNo has helped me focus a lot. I reward myself with blogging (which I love)!

Linda Kage said...

Sounds like a good plan. Ingenious! Now if only we could get the telephone, family, and pets to follow the timer rule too!!

Robyn Campbell said...

Fantastic idea, Eileen. But writers have to schedule that time in and then use the timer. I think I'll try the timer in with my writing time.

Great post. :)

Susan R. Mills said...

That's a great idea. When I get stuck, I also go read blogs, and end up staying longer than expected. I might have to give your system a try.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Just knowing that I only have to stick with it for one hour at a time is so helpful for me. I know that at the end of that hour I can check email and a couple blogs out, and then go for another hour of uninterrupted time. I wish I had tested this out years ago!!!

Anna said...

I couldn't leave my email up while writing; I use it as a treat to check mail, news, etc, once I'm done with a good chuck of work.

Great that you've found a method!

Cindy said...

That's a great idea, Eileen. There are days when I know I need to be super productive, so I'll give myself a word count to hit before I can do something else (something that also needs to be done). Like, write 300 words, do the dishes. Then write 500 words, clean the bathroom. Those days are the best because I'm not sitting for too long, I'm getting my words down and I'm getting things done around the house. Maybe not the most exciting day but it works for me :D

Erica Vetsch said...

This is such a great idea. Time can get away from us so quickly!

CJ said...

Using a timer is such a good way to keep focused

Keli Gwyn said...

Eileen, I'm glad the timer is working for you. Congrats on your word counts.

I've set my email program so it only checks email every hour instead of every minute as it was before. I use the boink of incoming messages as my reward for an hour of writing. After a quick check to see if there's anything pressing, I'm back at the writing. I'm far more productive this way than I was when I processed email as it came in.

Ava Walker Jenkins said...

I had never thought of using a timer. What a great tool to keep us on track. So happy for your progress.

T. Anne said...

I believe you! Uninterupted time is worth its weight in gold. Wish I had more of it. So rare with kids in the house! I'm thrilled to hear your writing time is so much better used now. I'm going to have to find that time to write when everyone is fast asleep, be it early or late.

Jessica said...

OH my gosh! *snort* Katie's lip comment cracked me up!!!

A timer is a good idea. I don't open the internet when I write, but I still need to work on putting my booty in the chair.
Congrats on the word count!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

very cool, eileen. seriously. i've never considered doing this...but i'm not at a place where this would be an option, not with the move and packing and all! probably won't be able to try it out for some time (read: months). but good for you!

jeannie
The Character Therapist

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Good for you! That's a great idea!!

quietspirit said...

Eileen:
I have one of those. I use it sometimes. I have an Alpha Smart that helps me with my writing. This morning I wrote a section of my WIP. I transferred it to my computer and added 516 words to my total. I also wrote on a piece for my blog-a devotional essay. I'll try to work on it tomorrow morning and transfer and save it to my thumb drive for later.

Julie Dao said...

That is a brilliant idea. Nothing like a ticking clock to put the pressure on you to write! Congrats on how much more you've been able to write, that is fantastic news!

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Journaling Woman said...

I am going to try that, bring the kitchen timer out of that kitchen and to my computer. Great idea.

sherrinda said...

What a great idea! That is amazing how it helped your word count!

Edie said...

I am all about efficiency and productivity. Great idea and so glad it paid of for you too.

Thanks for your comments on my Titus 2 in Action post today. I have prayed that you will get to be a godly influence on your grandchildren when the time comes.

Rich blessings to you!

Stephanie Faris said...

Alright!!! Sounds like the perfect tool to keep you going.

Lisa said...

This is a great idea. Does the timer make you feel rushed in any way, or annoyed at its ticking? I may have to try this. I am two chapters away from finishing a historical romance novel and I would love to focus more on it. I haven't touched it in some time because my mind is a million miles away (excuse the cliche). Anyway, great tip.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Lisa, I actually tune out the ticking. It really helps me concentrate and enjoy the writing because I know by the time the timer rings I can go have a look-see at posts gone up and email knowing I've accomplished some, if not all of a scene. I also get up between writing hours and hang laundry, eat lunch, feed the cats, pooper scoop, whatever to percolate my next scene so that I'm ready for the next 60 minutes.

Yesterday I actually got 6303 words in by doing 1 hr intervals with breaks inbetween. It was awesome!! And I'm finding my word count average is increasing as I do this.

Definitely worth trying to see if it works as well for you.

Edie said...

Hi Eileen! Yes I designed the Titus 2 in Action blog. Thank you for the compliment. :)

Best wishes in the give-away!

Carla Gade said...

Excellent idea, Eileen! Some of us have been talking about how to make the most of our time. Congrats on this remarkable discovery!!! :)

Candee Fick said...

Chiming in late - life kept me from my computer this week. I'm glad you found something to help keep you focused on the writing.

I also use my timer to signal when it's time to STOP checking the blogs, etc. and get back to work.

Terri Tiffany said...

I missed this! Cool idea:) I don't have one but I could probably set a time from a clock or something. I got a lot of writing done this morning but it took discipline and not peeking at emails. Now I feel free to roam them as I wrote so much!

Laura Frantz said...

Go, Eileen! I think a lot of us are thinking of treasuring our writing time - and other time - this week as this subject seems to be turning up again and again. The enemy wants us to be as unproductive as possibly and knowing that makes me even more determined to stay focused. Bless you for your wise words. And happy writing:)

Warren Baldwin said...

Great idea.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I have considered this, Eileen, but never done it. Now you've inspired me. Timer, here I come!

BTW, I accomplished tons last week when I was unplugged from blogging. Now I'm back, and I think the timer will help.

Thanks for the encouragement,
Jen
Audience of ONE

Jeanette Levellie said...

I have considered this, Eileen, but never done it. Now you've inspired me. Timer, here I come!

BTW, I accomplished tons last week when I was unplugged from blogging. Now I'm back, and I think the timer will help.

Thanks for the encouragement,
Jen
Audience of ONE

Jeanette Levellie said...

I have considered this, Eileen, but never done it. Now you've inspired me. Timer, here I come!

BTW, I accomplished tons last week when I was unplugged from blogging. Now I'm back, and I think the timer will help.

Thanks for the encouragement,
Jen
Audience of ONE