Friday, August 12, 2011

Training for Speed

I'm confident in my story-telling abilities and I have more ideas than I know what to do with. Well, that's not strictly true. I know exactly what to do with them: Write Them Down. To that end I've been focusing most of my 'writing practice' efforts on Training for Speed. That is to say: Writing FASTER.

I noticed a while ago that once I've actually written a story down, it usually worked great without me having to go rewrite it. I do a once-through to make sure I didn't leave any sentence fragments and to fix typos, and that's enough to catch when I've misspelled a minor character's name five different ways and search and replace it. When the story (to use the technical term) 'sucks'*, there has been no correlation between speed of typing and degree of suck.

/*Because it is my assertion that a writer can't tell whether the story is good or bad before contact with the reader, but he can know if it Sucks./

Also, look at the H2NH ePub Schedule. Those books are awesome, and I want to Write Them Down. And there's even more on queue that are rabbling for LIFE.

So, most of my training has focused on Mindset (see The First 200 Days blog posts), Health (not pictured), Schedule, and TRICKS. The tricks mostly take the form of Timers, and yesterday (8/10/2011) was the culmination. In FocusWriter, I set an eight-hour timer, a one-hour timer, and a fifteen-minute timer and Just Wrote, refreshing the timers as they expired and marking the word count:

Five hours, 4000 words. I would have gone the full eight, but that's a...

Lessons Learned:
I apparently write 800 words an hour without really trying. There was no big meditation session beforehand, and this was after a full day of traipsing through the jungle. I just sat in my rat-infested house with my trusty lizard friend to eat the mosquitoes, drank some tea and Made Stuff Up.

Have more snacks, less caffeine
Seriously, I had some salted peanuts and a half-loaf of wheat bread to counteract two liters of cold tea. That's not healthy.

Have a meal/break/some sort of human contact in the middle
You know, like a real eight-hour job. The reason I didn't get all the way through the eight hours is simple. "The spell of it" is a Science Fantasy Romance, and those four thousand words were in the Fantasy (A story) and Romance (B story) stories. Although in this case the Romance was Politics*.

/*But politics is just romance by other means./

So, when I ended the chapter and realized I had to switch mindset to Science (C story), I should have taken a break. But it was 11PM and I didn't have any food. So I read a Bernie Rhodenbarr book, then fell asleep at 1AM.

Start earlier, Write longer

So, my target is 1,000 words an hour, 8,000 words a day. But I'll be satisfied with 5000 words a day because it's a convenient number for division. I just need to practice and learn the tricks of the trade. If I remember, I'll update the spreadsheet for as long as SCIENCE demands I train for speed. So if you're really bored, you can follow along. Alternatively, you could steal it and do this on your own.

Up to you.


  1. 5,000 words a day is nothing to sneeze at. Through a twitter exchange with Larry Block (you see, b/c of twitter, I feel I know him well enough to cal him "Larry"), I found out in his early years he wrote 20 pages a day. My kids go back to school next week, and I'm going to push myself to his 20 pages a day for at least one week, just to see what it feels like. Just gonna shut off the damn Internet until I get the pages written. Should be loads of fun.

  2. Well, if Larry can do it, so can I. These are my early years, after all...

    Usually I don't even have to turn off the Internet. It'll go out on its own.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...