(picture from Marc via Compfight)
What happens when you write something 50 out of 50 days?
At first I wrote 500 words a day, then something changed. I made a spreadsheet that noted my progress. (you can download a clear one at here) Since the third day, I started taking minute counts, to make “Words Per Minute”-measurements. At first my cruising speed was 18.35WPM I’d had two days below 10, where they were 9 and 7. This was before I started taking breaks.
I believe both days were times I had real troubles writing my required 500. I learned a couple of coping mechanisms, taking breaks if things move along too slowly, write on completely different pieces (A journal entry, or blog post, Et. Cetra), and last but not least: Get rid of distractions. That application constantly bothering you to go update something? Kill it, just murder it.
Isolate yourself from the world. I found music without actual or lots of speech works really well. I’ve come to love FlicFlac for this. If this is not your musical can of worms, that’s fine the main thing is that you’re not supposed to sing along in your head. Anything carrying energy away from getting those words down is your enemy.
Statistics and how they helped
The maths for getting words per minute is really simple, Words/Minutes. That’s it, at day 3 in the challenge I was putting down a timestamp when I started, and another one when I ended. Along with word counts for each. Later on I started writing required word count just to make it simpler to remember when it was okay to quit.
Later on (day 10-20 of the challenge) I wrote a Google Docs SpreadSheet, and after filling in that with the data collected, I saw room for improvement. The spreadsheet gives you an idea of how fast you are writing. In the beginning it helped getting to see patterns. Like how I would work far less efficiently with distractions.
If I felt that I’d written myself into a slump I would stop the time, and take a break. Getting back to writing was then easier than before. This I think resulted in gaining faster WPMs overall, I’d quickly grown to be above the previous cruising speed. Well, quickly is overstating it I think. But rather quick I would say.
My current WPM is 21.6 and with me learning touch typing, I am expecting that to increase lots faster once I actually end up “getting” it.
The best WPM I have had until now 38 (that’s 22 away from writing one word PER SECOND) and was obtained through a headset with accompanying music, my glasses off, so I couldn’t see typing errors, other than the most grave ones, and the no-pressure of writing a freeform (no plan) entry for my bookverse. There I am writing my heart into a textual form. There needs not be corrected words. It is not that important. So yeah, moral of the high-wpm: Ignore the world, don’t edit, and write whatever lets you write whatever your most unobstructed thoughts say.
One of the things I’ve always struggled with, when doing things like these is motivation, while not on the OCD-level (I am not forced by my brain to fix things) having a 49 day streak on Lift.Do does help me keep motivated. That and statistics I’d have to write zero on if I didn’t do it one day. (Which would make the next few days easier, but it would be hurting me on the inside. For no other reason that I could’ve been better.)
Late days, and how to deal with them
When I write, I write for a specific day. (At least with the My 500 Words Challenge) To me as long as I haven’t slept yet that day, I am fine. That said, I won’t stretch it longer than a few hours across the border of that date. Technically, a day is 48 hours long because of timezones, so there is a lot of leeway here. But I don’t want to be “catching” up on writing. That’s a situation I don’t ever want to be in.
I’ve now written enough words to satisfy the My 500 Words Challenge, I won’t go tick it. I could. But I’ve not timed it, and I haven’t gotten to 1000 words.
PS: I’ve written not counting these words: 1167 words, over a time of 48 minutes, which I found that the revisioning tool of my blog actually kept accounts of. Fancy. So I lied to you earlier. I will be ticking that box.
How 500 turned into 1000 and with time will turn into 2000
Rather quickly with the statistics document, I started adding small tidbits of information based on some math acrobatics with the gathered statistics. Average WPM (Above this is a personal goal on every daily assignment), Average Words Per Day (became the basis of the daily target), Highest WPM (reach for above this), Lowest WPM (Never let this become lower.), Total Words Written, Target Words Next Day, Days Counted, Average Minutes Spent
This segment is for the Target Words Next Day, with this I wanted to make sure the average words per day always went up. If not quickly, at least surely. I might not be able to directly control my WPM, but I can control how many words I am satisfied with. The current formula is: Round to the nearest 500 Average Words Per Day+250. This will make sure that my target is ALWAYS above the current average.
Making it slowly crawl upwards.
It is my goal to always improve my statistics, by slowly increasing the amount of writing, I will be giving myself a stamina-boost over time. But it’ll be so gradual that the WPM-speed should be increasing with it. Making me able to write more in less over time. And I am talking about by day maybe 100. As it is I have added Touch Typing to my scheduled enhancements. (I might increase the Target of the day to WordsPerDay+500 to get a faster increment in daily words required. If I am to reach the 1333 goal for nanowrimo… Alternatively, I could just ignore the target in the spreadsheet and write with the nanowrimo goal in stead. I kinda like that idea better, it would force the wpd up, at a slightly faster rate.)
Looking forwards to actually making real headway with that. As it is, I am doing somewhat similar things to what touch typing wants you to do. While there are no “proper” spots for my current writing technique, it has been serving me up until now. But I am in need of something faster, and I’ve heard that touch typing can help.
That said, I’ve looked into the dvorak keyboard style before, when doing research for keyboards to buy. I might end up on one someday, but for now, I can do well enough with the tools that are at my disposal. For where I live, money does not yet grow on trees. And a rent one has to pay.
I do intend to partake in Nanowrimo. I mean, it’s the natural step forward from the “My 500 Words Challenge” especially when I already write at 1000 Words Per Day :3
How about it? Do you want to write 43000 words? (A novel) Try the My 500 Words Challenge today. ~ Tweet this?