When my son is visiting his grandparents, they often head into the office to watch three “baby” videos on YouTube. After the must-see “5 Little Monkeys”, they often watch “Baby Shark”. The simple tune is guaranteed to get stuck in my head—and I’ll find myself randomly singing about my actions to the always-in-my-brain tune.
So today, when I’m sitting down to write this week’s article, the line “swim faster!” started running through my head.
Then I changed it to WRITE faster.
Here are my top three tips to make the most of your writing time. (We’re going to assume that you’re using the Power of Setting Mini-Goals to keep you on track; especially the 15 minute timed session.)
1. Use this time to write – and ONLY write.
Don’t Re-Read. This is your writing time so it goes without saying that if you’re using your WRITING time to re-read, you’re squandering your time. The worst part? It FEELS like you’re moving forward because you’re doing something. But you’re not.
Don’t Do Research. Hand in hand with no re-reading your already written work is also to skip the research. ALL the research – even the things that aren’t research but are a sideways justification for cruising Facebook until the timer dings.
Set your timer and WRITE. Nothing else.
2. It’s a sprint!
You have carved out fifteen minutes in your day. Fifteen precious minutes. This isn’t the time to leisurely watch letters pop up on your screen or to get lost in the feeling of an expensive pen flowing across equally expensive paper.
Almost everything* can be fixed in editing—except a lack of words!
You’ve got 15 minutes so SPRINT! Write as much as you can, as fast as you can. Don’t worry, don’t edit, just WRITE. Vazooooom! Write so fast your autocorrect can’t keep up. Let your pen fly across the page so your writing tips, your penmanship is laughable, and your whole arm cramps with the fervor of your words.
*Caveat on “everything”: I prefer that you have mentorship for writing your book from Day 1 so you’re streamlining the entire process. Yes, almost everything can be fixed in editing, but it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to work with a mentor well before your book is drafted!
3. Plan for more relaxed writing sessions.
It’s a lot easier to bang out 500 words in 15 minutes if you know that tomorrow you’ve penciled in the gift of a spacious writing session. (Or if you’ve set aside an hour on Saturday afternoon!)
It’s unsustainable to always write in a rush or doing endless writing sprints. So plan in sessions where if you get five solid sentences in your fifteen minute session, you’re content.
For every day you plan a writing sprint, plan a second day to write at a more leisurely pace. (Notice I said WRITE – not edit, re-read, research, etc. THOSE actions have their place, but not in this article!)
And while ALL writing adds up, if you want to get your rough draft done in a reasonable amount of time—my clients do it in 90-days!—then you’ve got to get the lead out of your pants and the words out of your head.