A 50% increase in daily writing time since I started school

starfisheatseal
Couldn’t think of an image for this, so I went for this picture of a bunch of starfish devouring the corpse of a baby seal.

Ever since I started tracking the amount of time that I spend writing on each day (which was sometime in May of 2011), I’ve hovered around 90-100 minutes of writing time every day–a number that is inclusive of sick days, weekends, holidays, vacations, cross-country driving, etc. And that’s great and all, but when someone says they’re a writer, you don’t imagine them saying, “Oh, I’m a writer: I write for 90 minutes a day”.

But, since I came back to school on August 27th, I’ve averaged 150 minutes a day! Now that is more like it. The key here is that September 3rd was the first day on which I started setting daily writing goals. The regime has undergone a slight amount of alteration since then (most notable re: when exactly I am allowed to change my goals). But having the goal has not only increased my productivity, it’s also decreased my anxiety. After I hit the day’s goal, I feel free to knock off and not do any more writing for the day.

I’ve also started setting daily reading targets. Currently, I’m aiming for 20 hours of writing every week and 15 hours of reading. Combined with about 10-15 hours of school-related work, that’s a pretty respectable workweek.

My only concern now is that my productivity targets and techniques might be proliferating. At some point, I think I’ll hone things down and start tracking only a few indicators. Actually, this switchover has already had a few results. Although my writing time is up by 50%, my daily wordcount is only up by 25%. Since I don’t primarily track wordcount anymore, I don’t need to do quite as much padding, rewrites, etc.

I am enjoying having more writing time. I feel a much greater sense of freedom at the keyboard nowadays, because I know I have the time to do the things that I want to do.