I was recently asked how I achieved some of my high page count days. More specifically, I was asked: Do I key? You mean type it in, right? Of course. I haven’t bothered to train my speech recognition program yet – apparently, I sound drunk because it misunderstands almost everything, and that was after I did some training . . .
I can type at around 80 wpm, not that my ideas flow that fast. My best ever hour – and yes, I do track stuff like this – I compete with myself – just for the heck of it – I typed in something like 16 pages, which I thought was just smokin’. I had all sorts of spelling mistakes – but I didn’t care. I was just going all out to see what was possible and not stopping to even look at the screen. I stared at my ceiling, or maybe closed my eyes, or something equally hokey, and type type typed.
It was also a fun fun couple of scenes – I wrote mostly dialogue, very little description (writing description bores me, to tell you the truth. Dialogue is easy), and it was mostly a. a hallucination scene and b. a psychotic murderous rage scene, both of which were a whole lot of fun to write. Most of the time, I’m lucky to get 10 pages an hour.
How do I do it? If I’m stupid, I sit in front of my computer, stare at my scene notes, and get bored, and play card games. And then it takes me four hours to crank out five pages.
If I’m smart, I’ll sit down in front of my computer with a stop watch in my hand, set the timer for 30 minutes, tell myself that that’s all I have to do, get the timer going, and then write madly, ignoring everything else. The stopwatch, I’ve discovered, is my friend. I can’t even begin to imagine sitting for an hour or two at a stretch writing. It’s too much for me. 30 minutes is my absolute limit. Having said that, I should try 15 minute increments and see what happens. Maybe that’ll push my page count per hour up.
I also take 10 minute breaks every half hour – no ifs ands or buts. And I have chocolate around, usually in the form of chocolate cake or brownies or something like that. (Fahim demands that I keep him in chocolate cake/brownies – and it has to have lots of "stuff" in it – chocolate chunks (chocolate chips are not available in Sri Lanka, but chocolate sheets are, so I chop them up), raisins, dates, whatever – he’s soooo demanding!!!!) Plus I have my water at my side – hydration, I feel, is essential for a properly working brain. When I’m thirsty, I go fuzzy. When I drink lots, I can write more and better.
Whoa! That was quite the digression!!!! Um, if I’m trying to push the page count, I’ll refuse to correct anything as I type – not spelling errors, not typos, not grammatical errors – nothing. I won’t even look – that takes away the temptation. I’m not trying to write perfection, I’m just trying to write more than I had before. Usually, it’s not bad. Sure, it needs editing, but so what? I try all sorts of tricks. I’ll wear a blindfold or those sleep shades if I’m so caught up in editing as I go and I don’t want to be. If that’s what it takes to break the habit, hey, I’m willing. I’m willing to try just about anything, basically. I believe in experimenting until I find whatever works best for me.
Um, public humiliation helps, but so do public accolades. And Fahim giving me a kiss for a job well done. That helps, too. Oh, and we have a reward system in place. So many pages a day gets me chocolates – every ten pages, I get another. Every so many words gets me a new DVD or dinner out. Things like that.
Having said all that, it’s only recently – since I moved to Sri Lanka, became unemployed, and married dearest – that I’ve been able to write this much. That, for me, has made a huge difference. And I’m not published yet. That is something I aspire to achieve.
- Blitz Drafting
- FFWriMo Day 4 – Flash Fiction Writing Prompt
- Progress 10 June 2004
- Motivation and Accomplishment
- On Editing
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