Chad Grayson

Productivity Upgrades!

photo credit MInh Pham on unsplash

              I have been busy the last month or so. Mostly writing, but also doing other things, like taking guitar lessons, and spending time with my grandchildren.

              I have been writing 2000 words a day, 4 times a week since last September, and that is a pretty good pace, but especially after having a pretty low word count in May, I decided I wanted to get to doing 10,000 a week so I could add some more projects in. I was thinking I would go back to writing on Sundays, but really, that’s my only day completely off from all responsibilities, and I was loathe to give it up. Then I had an idea. I have been hard scheduling my writing time and sending the schedule to everybody in my family, which has really helped me focus with no distractions (besides the ones I create for myself). I usually schedule 2 hours to produce 2000 words, but really, it only takes me about an hour and 15 minutes. So, I thought, what if I write for the entire 2 hours. What could I accomplish then? Would I break my brain doing this?

              Well, last week I tried it. I set my timer for 2 hours and wrote until it buzzed. The first day, I ended up writing 3,271 words. The second day, I put down 2,986. Those were both satisfactory results. Well, on Thursday I wrote 3700 words and on Friday 3696. So, from a goal of 10,000 words for the week, I ended up with 13, 653. That was a definite result! Also, I felt fine doing this. I didn’t feel burned out. Instead, I found out that after about an hour, I tended to enter a flow state and that second hour just flew by. So, I will definitely keep doing this. Today, I resumed the practice and ended up with 3601 words. I’ve already met my goal for the month, but of course, I’m going to keep working and see if I can make up for lost time.

              One of the reasons I am excited about this is it means I have time to take a couple of my writing days and work on a second project, without slowing down on the first. I am not usually a short story writer. A few of my shorts stories were published in anthologies around 2009-2011, and I feel good about those, but my ideas are usually novel length or longer. I asked the Apex SFF group how I could focus myself and come up with some shorter ideas, and we talked about it at our zoom meeting last week. They had a lot of promising ideas, with the result that I ended up with four or five really solid short story concepts. So, before I slot the fifth Broken Stars book into second rotation on Thursdays and Fridays, I’m going to write a couple of them. I just hope they stay short stories and don’t end up as novels. I’ve plotted them out with some word count estimates per scene, and I think I can do this.

              There are contests I’d like to enter and calls for submissions I’d like to submit to, so this will give me something to send in for those. If nothing else, I can publish them via my newsletter as reader magnets (yes, I’m working on having a newsletter soon. Sign up!) Two of them are fantasy ideas, and one of them is a Broken Stars prequel about an incident in Will’s life mentioned in the first book.

              I really feel like the last couple of years have unleashed a spigot of creativity in me. It’s kind of a problem of too many ideas and projects I want to work on, but overall, I’m doing ok with focus and productivity these days. I can do all things through Adderall, which strengthens me.

              This is helping me bottle my rage at the state of the world right now.

              Anyway, so that’s the update. I’ve hacked my productivity yet again. This couldn’t have happened two years ago. I needed to build up to it. Writing four days a week and taking Sundays off seems to be a sustainable schedule.

              We’ll see how long I can keep this going.

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