I just returned from a fabulous writing retreat where I killed my writing goals and I can’t wait to tell you about the simple methods I used to write 25,000 words or roughly 120 double-spaced pages in two and a half days. There are three secrets to my success that you can implement to up your writing productivity now and then I have a couple more tricks up my sleeve . . .
#1 The Pomodoro Technique.
I use my free writing app, Writeometer. Basically this little app helps me set writing project goals, incorporate rewards, and run writing sprints that boost my productivity. I work in 25 minutes sprints and usually write around 700-800 words in each sprint.
My favorite thing about Writeometer (besides that it’s free!) is that it keeps track of all of my project logs with word-count averages so I can see how I’ve progressed and improved over the last year using this app. I also love the inspirational writing quotes it feeds me every time I open the app. There are lots of other comparable apps so hunt around and find your favorite, but seriously, check out writeometer cuz it has some pretty awesome features!
The most important thing is to try it out! Even if you set a timer for 25 minutes on your phone, it works the same as long as you focus on writing and writing only for that 25 minutes. Then the fun begins! Reward yourself with a treat (I love 90% dark chocolate), a short walk, a 5 minute deep breathing exercise, or yoga session. Now, if you’re in the flow of your story and you don’t want to stop, then just stand up, stretch, take a deep breath, and restart the timer. When practicing the Pomodoro technique, don’t allow yourself to fail! Make your writing sprint sacred–something that shall not be interrupted by texts, emails, or surfing the web. Here’s where the writeometer* app comes in handy because it helps you stay on task. This is something that you can implement today to change up your writing game for success!
Here’s a rundown on how I reached 25K words in two and a half days using the Pomodoro technique with writing sprints:
Thursday after driving for about two hours I arrived at my writing destination of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. I wrote during 4 sprints + an extra 15 minutes=115 minutes or just shy of 2 hours for a total of 3,572 words that evening. Then my friends and I enjoyed the natural hot springs and talked about our writing in prep for the next day.
Friday 13 writing sprints at 25 minutes each= 325 minutes or 5.4 hours of writing for a total of 10,377 words! And guess what, there was still time to hit the hot springs again and have some great brainstorming time with people who get writing.
Saturday 13 writing sprints at 25 minutes each + one 10 minute sprint=335 minutes or 5.5 hours of writing for a total of 11,056 words!
Total=25,005 words in 775 minutes or 12.9 hours. That equates to roughly 1,938 words per hour on a first draft of a book which is a pace I’m very happy with.
Another point to consider is that 5.5 hours a day is not working full time. You can get so much accomplished utilizing these sprints. At the rate of 10,000 words a day, you could write an 80,000 word novel in 8 days.
Writing sprints utilizing the Pomodoro technique has increased my writing productivity immensely and I’m not writing junk either. I say this because I’ve received questions about the quality of words written at that speed. Let me emphasize that I’m not just filling up pages. Each word that I write is working to make my story stronger and working to build the story arc. All writing requires editing (and I LOVE the editing phase), but my goal is to write streamlined so I don’t have to go back and delete messy scenes that don’t work.
At the bottom of this post, I’ll include a list of links and resources including an excellent article that explains how Francesco Cirillo developed this technique with more details on how to implement it into your lifestyle. Watch for * indicating more resources at the bottom of the post.
#2 Plotting Systems with a Minimal Outline.
I could write a book on this topic alone, and I have taught several in-depth classes on the power of outlining. There is a special balance to outlining that when done right creates a magic that brings your story together into a successful page-turner. Even if you’re holding hard to the class of pantsers, I encourage you to consider that when I began studying plotting and outlining, I tripled my productivity.
I highly recommend a fantastic series of free videos* on YouTube from NYT Bestselling Author, Dan Wells. I’ve attended a class like this in person and understanding plot points is integral to writing a solid first draft and being able to write it quickly. No time wasted writing yourself into corners! See the 5 part video series on YouTube in less than hour here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcmiqQ9NpPE
#3 Earbuds or noise-cancelling headphones and the perfect music for your story.
A little secret to my success that might often be overlooked is the power of concentration. Whether you’re writing in a house with 5 kids (that’s me!) or you get the awesome chance to go on a writing retreat (also me!), or you’re writing in your office with the door closed (in my dreams!), there is a great chance of interruption by background noises. During your writing sprint, put in a pair of headphones* and listen to music that will inspire your creativity, invite the muse to dance along, and not distract you from writing. That music is different for every person, and likely could change for each story you write. Here are a few of my favorite channels: Relaxdaily*, SOS radio, The Piano Guys, My Hawaiian music channel on Pandora (definitely put me in the mood for Veils and Vengeance* & Hawaiian Masquerade*), Mozart & other classical music (this has been proven to increase brain waves and growth in babies), Irish dance music, Old-time classics from the 1950s, and Elvis. What are some of your favorite inspiring albums or channels? Drop me a line in the comments and share!
*Write the Novel in You!
Use these 3 tips to jump-start your writing and if you’d like to dive deeper and learn more techniques and tricks that will boost your writing productivity and give you confidence on your writing path, you’ll want to check out my package deal today: Write the Novel in You!
For a limited time you can get exclusive coaching for incredible writing results with Rachelle’s Write the Novel in You package. Find out more here.
List of Resources from this article:
Dan Wells 7 Point Plot System videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcmiqQ9NpPE
I use these $8 Gumy earbuds to write with http://amzn.to/2kOXYpb