Call me Guinea Pig.
Over the last few months I have been on a quest to discover the right process, the right combination of factors to produce a known and quantifiable result. To be precise I have been searching for the method I need to employ to get my first draft completed.
I have been doing the normal things you do when you start out, tracking number of words written, duration of writing and any comments on the writing period. The results at first were great. But you must account for the initial euphoria that ensues with anything new and exciting.
At the same time, I was studying other processes people employ in various disciplines. From those observations one thing emerged which ran across all types of disciplines. Except writing. That one thing was a warm up. Professionals tended to utilized some type of warm up prior to beginning the real work. Athletes, musicians, singers, painters, photographers, they all did a warm up before they started the real task in front of them. The warm up looked different for each of them, but it was there.
I also happened across a program that delved into how habits are formed. One telling comment stated that the most productive people have developed cues which trigger a habit allowing them to go thru the day without having to make real decisions.
How can I apply these seemingly different ideas to my writing? How do writers warm up? How can I set up a writing cue? Will doing any of this matter? Since I had been tracking my daily word count I could do something interesting. I overlaid the days I had posted to the blog with the daily word count and an interesting pattern began to emerge.
On days with an initial blog post prior to writing, the word count was generally higher than on days without a blog post. On days where the word count was not appreciably higher, the trend was that it took less time to write the same quantity of words.
As with any light bulb moment, it raised more questions. Is a small writing piece really a “warm up” for writers? Can it be used as a cue to trigger the mental coding of a habit? Does the duration of the “warm up” significantly impact the number of words or the length of time to write those words? Does publishing to the blog have an impact? Is it a matter of how many words are written in the “warm up” or is it simply the “warm up” itself that triggers the habit? How do I tailor this for me?
These are my initial thoughts i.e. the experiment. I like writing to a photo prompt, so I will use a photo as my jumping off point. I will not specify any format or word count. Applying the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) algorithm it will be photo prompt, write, track, write on draft, track.
Let the experiment begin.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer