Pre-Year of Writing Kat used to love spending Sunday and Saturday afternoons lounging on the couch with my laptop, cozy blanket, and floofy kitty cuddled by my feet. I’d tell myself that I had the next 3-4 hours to write and wouldn’t it be wonderful how many words I’d get written!
Cut to 3-4 hours later, and I’d only have half a page to show for it.
No, I hadn’t gotten up off the couch.
Yes, I did have my Word doc opened that whole time.
Maybe, I could have possibly gotten distracted and spent hours looking at pretty images on Instagram instead of focusing on what I should be doing, aka writing.
This was my trend. I’d “dedicate” hours to writing, and then do everything but write. In my mind, I lectured myself on needing to write, but with so much time to do it, I fully convinced myself that it was something I could put off. I wasted time because I could. After all, I had all the time in the world to get my writing done, so no need to worry about it now.
As you can imagine, this resulted in many frustrated weekends. Weekends where I 100% could have written tons of new pages, but instead had only written 2 new ones.
I knew days like these were a problem, and yet I took no steps to try and correct it. I figured that this was the kind of writer I was and I’d better just accept it already, thank you very much.
So going into this Year of Writing project, I assumed that on days where I only had time to write for 30 min or less, that I’d barely eek out a paragraph and meet my minimum requirements.
My, my - was I wrong!
This past Wednesday was an extremely busy work day. As evening rolled around, I was in a poor mood and the last thing I wanted to do was write. But I forced myself to spend the next 20 minutes writing. When the 20 minutes were up, I’d shut down my computer and walk away.
I took a deep breath, focused on nothing but my story, and wrote for 20 minutes without pausing, except maybe to pet my cat. In the end, I had WAY more words that I had expected. Almost 500! That’s a lot! I felt really proud for accomplishing so much in a short amount of time.
I decided to try it again the next day. I wrote for 15 minutes and completed almost 700 words! Whoa…
I was shocked, elated, blown away, and mainly very very confused as to how I could be so productive in a tiny amount of time and yet not at all productive with all the time in the world.
After reflecting on this past week, I came to the conclusion that the difference lies with how I approach my time. Focused Writing Time vs. Floating Writing Time.
Focused Writing Time is where I write in small chunks and give myself a hard cut off time to stop writing. The shortest chunk I did was 5 minutes. The longest, 20 minutes. Because the times are so short, I’m able to fully focus on my writing. I know that when the 5-20 minutes is up, I can do whatever else I want to do and not feel guilty.
Floating Writing Time is where I give myself an undetermined amount of time and say that I can write whenever I want in the next 2+ hours, 4-ish hours, before dinnertime, etc. I treat my time like it’s some loosey-goosey, stretchy, unending substance. And the way I treat my time ends up reflecting on the way I treat my writing. Eh, it’ll happen if it’s meant to happen, but if not, oh well.
I’m sure you’ve already figured out my conclusion from all of this. I prefer Focused Writing Time over Floating Writing Time. I prefer to write in very short chunks. I prefer to focus on a single task at a single time. I prefer to give myself a hard cutoff time, because that motivates me to focus even more.
Going into this Year of Writing project, I never would’ve believed that writing in short chunks would work well for me. But I love it! In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Floating Writing Time.
Now, for some numbers!
My mood regarding the past week: Stressed
My mood for this coming week: Calmer
Other insights: I had a lot of stressful work days this past week. Normally, I'd use that as an excuse to not write. But since I'm determined to write every day for a year, I forced myself to do it. And I'm so happy I did! I found that writing always brightened my mood and at the end of the day, I went to bed feeling accomplished for getting words on the page, rather than feeling angry for letting my work mood affect my writing.
If you're wondering, yes, my busy work week is what prompted me to write in shorter, focused chunks. Which I ended up loving so much, I'm going to do that even on my not stressful days! Thanks stressful week for giving me new realizations, haha!
That's it for now. Happy creating to all my writerly wizards!