A while back, I made a post that included instructions to write in short bursts. Sadly, I had completely been ignoring it (and it’s actually pretty good advice).
See, I often sit in front of the glowing screen for a few hours and then manage to get seven words. After a few times of this, I say to myself, ‘Self, I am disappoint.’ The first draft is supposed to be quick(ish). With the start of NaNoWriMo (which I do in order to force myself to write a first draft faster, and they have a cool word count stat thingie), I decided to improve on my seven words in three hours speed. But first, I had to get a more accurate recording of how many words I actually wrote in three hours. Not having three hours, I decided to time myself for thirty minutes and see how many words I could get.
So I smashed out as many words as I could, my only criteria being that they had to be parts of coherent sentences and that they had to be vaguely part of the story. In the end I got seven hundred and forty three. Which is more than I usually do in an hour. This presented the problem that often occurs with me. I always perform better in tests (even if I’m the only one present) than I do normally. I.e. I can never do one of those monkey puzzle tests where they tell you your personality type, because I try to figure out which one of the options will lead me to the result that I want. Ergo, they are never accurate.
So I redid the test, this time for ten minutes. Three hundred words. That means nine hundred in thirty minutes. I did even better.
With several more tests, I came to this conclusion. I consistently performed better when put under a time limit, whether my own or not, than when I just wrote with no time limit in mind. Also (to a point), the less time I have, the better I perform. Ergo, I must conclude that writing in short self-timed bursts are most effective for me, even if I have a three hour gap open in which to write.
The point? Use your weaknesses to your advantage. Mine is that I (for some reason) want to impress myself. I use that by letting myself test myself. If you have the need to impress your second cousin twice removed, tell him that you’re going to write 50 000 words in a month. If you like impressing your cat, let her sit on your lap and continually report your progress.