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Going into 2021, I’d like to quickly round up a few writing experiments I did and am planning to do. I hope it inspires everyone to try them, try their own, or tell me I’m full of it.
So let’s get to it:
The 20 Minute Prime
The “20 Minute Prime” is a habit I created to make sure I keep writing and don’t get distracted – while not pressuring myself. It works like this.
- 20 Minutes a day I sit down and write – but it can be anything from a blog post to a book to a newsletter. As long as it wasn’t “everyday” writing like email, it was good.
- During this 20 minutes I do nothing else. No chat, email, etc.
- At the end of the period I can keep writing if I want to. I don’t have to avoid distractions if I don’t want.
When I do this, I rarely write only 20 minutes. Once I’m going I’m in the zone and I get a lot more done. It also seems to be faster.
So far this has been extremely successful. I make time for writing that’s not distractible, but I don’t pressure myself on what, so I don’t beat myself up over not writing the “right” thing. By doing this I get into the visceral rhythm of writing, making space for it, and often I write much more. Finally I develop a good awareness of distraction, avoiding it, and allowing it.
I have tried writing books “over time” and it’s a mixed bag – it can be a grind, you can loose the big picture, etc. Also it involves timeshifting and changing focus and keeps you from being “in the flow.” Sometimes you need to dive deep for a few hours.
Inspired by someone in one of my writers group who once wrote for 20 hours on a weekend, I’m going to try marathon writing. I call these Deep Dives.
Now I don’t know if I’ll write for 20 hours over a weekend (I just may) but my goal is to set aside time to spend hours working on books. My theory is as follows:
- I can get into the zone and write faster.
- This leads to focus and avoids timeshifting, saving time.
- Doing writing flushes problems out, so the more the better.
- Whatever I don’t fix will come out in edits.
- Sometimes finishing is the only way to fix stuff.
My first test will be my next Worldbook, which will probably write in less than a week (and possibly over a weekend). I’ll doubtlessly let people know how that goes.
That’s The Plan – So Far!
I’ll keep sharing other insights. Maybe folks would like a regular update on what I’m trying and if it worked?