By Scott D. Parker
For those of us with a day job that is not fiction writing, we have to choose to carve out time in our day to write our stories. But there’s never enough time, is there?
Optimizing one’s time becomes crucial in our day-to-day writing experiences. You want to ensure you are making visible progress despite wanting more time to write and not having any.
I’m pretty sure most of us know what a writing sprint is. You set a timer for any length of time and then you go, go, go and write until the timer sounds. Fifteen minutes is cited as a good number, and, depending on how fast you type and how quick your imagination is, you can reach 500 words.
I fell out of the timed-sessions habit mainly because I type fast and my imagination’s on the ball. But I’ve been bumping up against a number of obstacles recently and decided to return to the sprint. With a new wrinkle.
Okay, so it’s not really a wrinkle, but it sounded good in my head so we’ll just go with it, okay?
Two-a-days is a concept usually associated with sports. The athletes practice in the morning, wait hours and then practice a second time in the afternoons. It’s designed to give the body rest and, when it’s time to practice, you give it all.
This past week, I’ve been doing two-a-day writing sessions. In the weekday mornings, I know I can get at least fifteen minutes of writing done before I have to stop and get ready for and commute to work. In nearly every instance, I am not finished with a scene, but the timer’s beeping and the clock on the wall’s telling me I have to get ready for work.
So I close the laptop and do that.
Then, later on at my lunch hour, I open the laptop up again and do another fifteen minutes, picking up right where I left off.
But here’s the actual wrinkle to this process: even at my lunch time, when I have an uninterrupted hour to write, I still do the fifteen-minute bursts. When that timer sounds, I stop typing, stand up, and walk the conference room. I look out the window and soothe the mind. Sure, I might mull over the next line but for the most part, I don’t. That’s the rest time, usually a three-minute span. What that three-minute timer goes off, I sit back down, reset the phone for fifteen minutes, and go.
With this concentrated focus time of three writing sessions in a lunch hour, I can get 1,000-1,400 knocked out in an hour. For my work-from-home day, I do this process in the morning before my work day.
The progress I made this week was eye opening, so I think I’ll keep on this “workout” until this book is done. Our imagination is a muscle, so give it a good workout twice a day and see how far your book will go.
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