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How Timing Your Writing Can Help You Draft
Staying on task and motivated to write can be a struggle–especially when you’re in the thick of the drafting process. One thing that has been revolutionary for me is writing on the clock. It keeps me focused on production not quality, which is vital at this stage of a book.
I’ve seen a couple different versions of this method. The more popular is to set a timer and commit to working non-stop until the timer goes off. You control how much time you set, but if you’re looking for a guideline, maybe start with 30 minutes. This may work for a lot of people–including you–but it wasn’t enough to keep me motivated. I needed to see some sign of success in order to keep going. So instead of just writing with a timer, I add some goal-oriented check points along the way.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- First, I make sure I have enough time to meet my goals if I were to work virtually non-stop. If I don’t have enough time, I adjust the goal or see if I can find more time later in the day. (You may have to set the timer and just write non-stop for half an hour to get a baseline of what might be realistic for you.) Here are more tips for setting manageable goals, and why setting reasonable goals is important.
- Then, I figure out how much I have to write each hour to meet my daily goal.
- After that, I figure out how much I need to write every half hour to my hourly goal.
- Then finally, I figure out how much I need to write every five minutes to meet my half hour goal.
Maybe you don’t need to break your goals down quite this much, but I find it helpful. It’s easier and less intimidating for me to think about writing 100-150 words every five minutes than 3,000 in two hours. And each time I meet a small goal it reminds me that I can do this and it fuels me to keep me going.
As always, I hope this helps!
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Now it’s your turn: Have you ever tried timing your writing? Does it help? What tricks help you get a draft down? Tell me about it in the comments. If you have any tips to share, you can leave them there as well!