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No, this post is not about writers who reach for chocolate chunk cookies every time they stress. It's not about the sedentary lifestyle of a writer, or about our spreading middle if we don't do something about it. :) Believe it or not, I want to talk about our writing styles today. And I got the idea from reading Allie Pleiter's book, The Chunky Method: Your Step-By-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the Way.
Let me back up a little. Several years ago, I attended the Southern Kentucky Bookfest and Writers Conference. I attended a workshop that Allie taught about using her Chunky Method and was very interested in the material. And I found it helpful since I am bad about comparing myself to other writers.
Do you get bummed when you hear about writers cranking out 6000 words in a day? Do you know without a doubt that there’s no way you could write that many words without short-circuiting your brain? Or, on the other side of the coin, do you hear about writers who take their notepad or laptop everywhere they go, writing while in the carpool line or during their lunch break, and question how anyone could get their brain in gear so quickly throughout the day? Or, hey, do you feel like maybe you’re something in between or a combination of both depending on the circumstances?
WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT WRITING STYLES. AND THAT’S OKAY.
In Allie’s book, she recommends asking ourselves: How much quality writing (where creativity is at its peak) can I get done in a single sitting if not interrupted? That amount is our chunk. Allie says this amount is pretty consistent for each person. We can average out our best writing sessions and figure out our chunk type. And once we know what it is, then we can more effectively plan our writing schedules.
Do you often write for a period of time, and then feel exhausted and as if your brain won’t work any more? That’s probably the end of your ideal chunk.
Here’s a great quote from Allie’s book: “The important thing to remember here is that such a point is not writer’s block. It’s simply the end of your chunk. You haven’t run out of ideas, you’ve just run out of them for the time being.”
That mindset can help us overcome discouragement! If you’ve been comparing yourself to another writer…STOP. Just don’t do that. I know I have that tendency, especially after a month of Speedbo (the Seekerville book in a month challenge). During March, I would hear stories of amazing word counts (and celebrated each one!) but would let it get me down--especially since I was revising critiqued chapters, which goes even slower for me. Since I tend to write better in larger chunks with long stretches of uninterrupted time, I get envious when I hear of people who can write 1k in an hour in several sittings throughout the day. I also get frustrated whenever my normally uninterrupted time slots have been interrupted. While reflecting on my Speedbo month, I remembered Allie’s workshop and pulled out her Chunky Method book for ideas on how to improve my productivity.
Knowing our chunk size can help us plan our writing schedule. We can actually plan for writing in chunks instead of writing a certain number of pages or words per day/week. And if we need to increase our productivity, we can try to add an extra chunk to our work day/week! For me, at this time in my life, that may mean adding a chunk early in the morning or late at night after everyone is in bed (like in the olden days when my kids were little!). I think it will also mean moving my online time to periods when I have interruptions around me. I doubt y’all will mind if I’m commenting on the blog while my husband bangs around in the kitchen. :)
I only shared a little from Allie’s book. I hope you’ll check it out for yourselves, or will attend one of her workshops. [FYI: If you’re going to the ACFW conference this year, Allie will be teaching her Chunky Method!]
And remember, do not compare yourself to others! Just try to find your best method and use it to your advantage.
Today, I’ll be giving away a Kindle copy of Allie Pleiter’s Chunky Method book. Please let me know if you’d like to be entered. Now…let’s talk writing styles! (Or if you're not a writer, your style for accomplishing your projects.) Are you a sprinter or a marathoner?