Friday, November 11, 2011

Typing is not productive. Sort of.

Well, that lasted about a week. My personal attempt to keep up with the Nanowrimo writing 1,600-some word a day to get to 50,000 in a month. The first day I started out at negative seven words because I edited. The second day I typed a little over 1,000 words because I had peach schnapps. After these first eleven days of November, I went back and averaged my word count and came up with 500 words typed a day, which has been my working goal for a couple months now. So, I haven’t gotten faster. But I’ve maintained. And I’m pretty much happy with that.

However, the attempt did raise some points about productivity.

I find personally that the days I spend typing are the “least” productive. Yes, typing is important, anda big piece of the process. But other really important parts include but are not limited to:

1. Getting ideas/filling plot holes. This means that one day, one minute, even one second, I won’t know how to end a scene, and the next second I will. Sometimes whole new characters, scenarios, or themes will come up this way as well. (Sometimes even whole new storylines for that matter.) This doesn’t require any typing at all. This goes the same for filling plot holes. I might scribble down ten different ways to stitch a scene together, but that doesn’t get typed either.

2. Rough drafting. I might be in the minority here, but I have to handwrite everything before I type. I usually double the word count when I type it up, but without the material to go on, I just look at a blank screen and a blinking cursor.

3. Editing. Yes, this does include typing, but a lot of times it includes deleting. I took 20 pages out of my first novel. I edited a 10,000 word story down to 2,000 and it was much better. Again, no typing.

4. Final editing. For me, so much of a book actually gets written in the final stages. And it’s not typing a lot. It’s scrutinizing over one word at a time in a paragraph because it will strengthen a theme, or communicate an idea better, or just be more reader friendly.

So, I guess that’s the main hang up I had with trying to make the word count. It wasn’t productive for me. I didn’t change my process, either. I still wrote pages by hand, researched, studied words in the dictionary, and wouldn’t move on unless I was happy. And 500 words a day at that rate is fine by me.

Would it be awesome to have 50,000 words at the end of the month? Yeah, but I know the process will get slowed later (…beta readers… formatting… cover design… ) so I’d rather not rush junk when I can be consistently productive now.

I also tried to keep a “Nanolog” but I only wrote down things that got in my way:

Got called into work.
Was scheduled at work.
People in the break room making me feel awkward while I wrote like a lunatic on the crumpled paper I had shoved in my pocket.
Dishes/laundry/cooking/grocery shopping.
Being a good wife/sister/daughter and helping people I love and all that.
Did I mention sleeping?

In summary: A pot fills one drop at a time. Write every day, even if it’s only a sentence. And peach schnapps helps. Good night.

1 comment:

  1. I agree typing is problematic. For me, it is problematic because I have so much school and work on my place that the last thing I want to do, though I promise myself of it day-to-day, is TYPE. This is why I am finding handwriting stuff is handy as I can look at old ideas and expand on them later. I even made a post about it: