How to Double Your Hourly Word Count Without Even Trying

Nov 30, 2013

So. For the first time EVAR (I know, I just used EVAR—I’m that excited), I have won NaNoWriMo! Woot woot, yee haw, and a little bit o’ squee!


And actually, I won it a week ago.

You see, there was a plan to go to the in-laws’ place for the entirety of Thanksgiving week. And because my in-laws are the fun kind, not the scary kind, I knew I wouldn’t get my daily 2,000 words in, and thus would not win NaNo. So last Thursday, kind of at the last minute, I decided I would write the final 15.5 thousand words before we left. That gave me three days. It was going to be my highest daily word count ever—I’ve only once breached 4k a day, and that was on the first day of NaNo this year.

On my best day, I can average a little over 1k an hour, which is not too shabby at all. But I have a toddler, a preschooler, a house that needs to be relatively liveable, and dietary restrictions that mean I have to cook pretty much from scratch and don’t have a lot of eat-out options. I knew there just weren’t enough hours in the day for me to achieve 5k a day unless I stayed up really, really late, but I figured three days of that wouldn’t kill me.

And then. I tried a new method. At least, new to me. Ya’ll are probably going to laugh at me and say, “Wait, you mean you’ve never done it before?” I did a timed word sprint. I set the timer on my phone for half an hour, and I had to keep my fingers typing the entire time.

My first half hour, I logged over 1k. That was DOUBLE my usual hourly count. I was thrilled, and did it again. In my first hour, I had 2.5 thousand words. Which meant my usual daily writing time of 2 hours would get me the 5k a day I needed to win NaNo.

And I did. In a series of half hour timed word sprints, I hammered out over 15,000 words, won NaNo, and finished a (very, very) rough draft of my fourth novel. It was a little mind-numbing, and some of those words are undoubtably not among my greatest. But I achieved my goals, discovered a new method, and I’m thrilled to death about it!

So, my friends, I hope your NaNo month or non-NaNo month and Thanksgiving Day or November 28th were all wonderful! And tell me, have you done timed word sprints before? What do you think about them?

6 comments:

Danielle Raye Zeissig said...

Good job! It's amazing how many words you can get down in such little time when you simply make that your goal. I logged about the same when I just kept typing:) Congrats on finishing early!

Lynda R Young said...

I do enjoy the timed word sprints, but I must confess, I can't keep them up. I use them mainly for breaking writer's block... or reaching tight deadlines like NaNo ;)
Congrats on completing NaNo!!!

Haneen I. Adam said...

Wait, Shallee you mean you’ve never done it before? Come now that can't be true! O your so old :(
Loool! timing a word sprint is a method I learned from Susan Dennard, once I applied to my writing this year I experienced magnificent success, first I finished my first novel and now I won NaNoWriMo, I feel so good about my writing at this stage therefore I understand how you must feel.

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats on winning NaNo. You've found a formula that can work for you, so you're set for those times when you're working with a deadline.

Kittie Howard said...

Big applause for you, Shallee. Great job! It's amazing how good stress can work wonders!

Medeia Sharif said...

Congratulations. I have some vacation time soon and would like to write in spurts because I want to write a draft from start to finish, fast, before I go back to work.

 
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