Word Count Update and Other Forms of Progress

In my quest to increase my daily output (as originally discussed here and updated here), I’ve been keeping track of my word counts and time spent writing. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

First, when I focused on increasing my pace, I was successful. I could sit down and write more quickly than before. Primarily this was the result of shutting down online distractions: Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, to name the chief culprits. The second thing I used was a modified version of the Pomidoro Technique: setting an egg timer (or iPhone timer in my case) and writing nonstop for increasingly longer periods of time.

Second, although my word count and the length of time I was writing increased, I found that I wasn’t really living up to the Pomidoro Technique methodology. The idea is you spend 25 minutes working, then 5 minutes on break. I would get up to get some food or check those time-wasting sites, and then my 5 minute break would explode into something much longer. So that lead to my second discovery: I need to be more disciplined and set timers for my breaks as well. Otherwise, I will procrastinate far too much. However, recording stopping and starting times has really helped me be aware of how often I did this. I think if I wasn’t recording my data, I wouldn’t have been able to come to these conclusions.

Lastly, I wondered, was what I produced any better, or was speed making it worse? Well, in addition to my freelance writing and working on my novel, I’ve been working on some short stories as well. I sent a recent one off for publication, and it was rejected. But the good news? I got a little note appended to the rejection e-mail saying that the editor liked my idea.

So is my writing getting better? Yes and no, I guess. I got rejected, and that sucks, but he liked my idea. I guess that means that I’m getting better at creating stories. I just need to work on improving my execution. Well, (deliberate) practice makes perfect. I’m sure this won’t be the last update. I’ll keep you posted as things progress.

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