How can I write more? It’s a question that every writer asks themselves at some point, and it’s a question that I’ve asked myself multiple times.
Lately I’ve found myself needing to write and edit a lot more than I used to. By being forced to write more, I have found 3 ways that, when done in combination, can greatly increase one’s writing output.
1. Concrete Goals and Deadlines
The first thing that got me working extra hard on my writing were concrete goals and deadlines.
For those of you who have stuck around my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I did NaNoWriMo during 2017.
NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is an event that takes place each November. The goal is to try and write a 50,000 word novel in a month.
I had made a goal before NaNoWriMo started, which was to write all of November’s blog posts before the month started. That way I could just focus on writing my novel for the month of November.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t used to blogging and I wasn’t aware of how much extra work I would have to get done, so I didn’t have any extra blog posts prepared for November.
During November I wrote a 50,000 word novel in just 14 days, and I was also writing and editing a couple of blog posts each week, which left me incredibly burnt out.
I ended up taking the month of December off from blogging, in order to recover. Taking that break cost me a lot of growth, but it did give me the chance to renew myself.
What does this have to do with having concrete goals and deadlines?
This year I want to do Camp NaNoWriMo, which takes place during April, but I don’t want to have to stop blogging during the month of May.
This gave me a concrete goal of needing to writing 3 months’ (March, April, and May) worth of blog posts, and a concrete deadline of needing to finish by March 31.
Now, you may be looking at your screen right now and double checking my math. Going from 1 month’s worth of blog posts to 3 months’ worth of blog posts only triples my writing output, it doesn’t quadruple it.
Well when I sat down at the beginning of March, I realized that I needed to write 36 blog posts over 4 weeks, which means that I needed to write 8 blog posts a week.
Instead of writing 8 blog posts a week, I decided to try and write 12, in case I got sick, or in case of an emergency. It also would give me some extra time to work on planning for my Camp NaNoWriMo novel.
Before making my goal and choosing a deadline, I was writing 1 blog post a day, or I was editing 1 blog post a day. After making my goal, I started writing 2 blog posts a day, and editing 2 blog posts each day.
By giving myself a concrete deadline and goals, I was able to recognize how much work needed to be done, and I was able to calculate how much extra work should be done.
2. Recognizing Rewards
The second part of what got me increasing my writing output was recognizing the rewards that I would get from writing, and there were a few major rewards.
The biggest reward would be getting to do Camp NaNoWriMo without the stresses of blogging weighing me down.
I know that if I don’t have to write and edit blog posts on top of rewriting a novel, I’ll be able to put more of my energy and focus into the rewrite, so I’ll be able to get more work done.
The second biggest reward is the knowledge that I can take a break during May.
After all of the work from March trying to get the blog stuff ready, and all the work that I’ll be doing in April on my rewrite, I know that I’ll need to take a break during May. I also know that that break will be well deserved!
During my break I’ll be able to renew my creative energy by focusing on other subjects, like art or game design.
Finally, I’m also catching up on my writing goal.
At the beginning of the year I made a New Year’s resolution to write 250,000 words during the year. For the first couple of months I was consistently 10,000 words behind my goal, but working on all of these blog posts has helped me catch up.
Now I no longer have those 10,000 words hanging over me.
3. Proper Planning
While this part didn’t help me nearly as much as making concrete goals and deadlines, or recognizing the rewards, proper planning did help me break down my writing goals into manageable steps.
As I said before, I had 36 blog posts to write in 4 weeks, so I did some math. I quickly recognized that 36 is divisible by 4, which meant that I had to write and edit 8 blog posts a week to reach my goal.
Knowing that, I planned out which blog posts I would have to write and edit for each week. I recorded that information on some Post-it notes, which I stuck up on my wall beside my desk, which allowed me to visually track how much work I was getting done.
I also knew that if I prepared 12 blog posts a week I would have extra time to plan out my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo, or if I got sick or there was an emergency I would be able to have a few days off.
Concrete goals and deadlines, recognition of the rewards, and proper planning. Those 3 simple things allowed me to quadruple the amount of writing I was doing.
Keep in mind that this is only good for a short-term boost in writing output, as pushing yourself too hard can lead to burnout.
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