A few days ago I had a conversation with my writer and editor friend about the pace at which I can write in order to stay productive towards my calling to author material. At one point in the conversation he asked “how many word today do you think you can write?” Little did he know that I’d been contemplating this question for some time and tracking my productivity. I confidently answered, “1000 words a day.” I was pleased, although somewhat taken back by his response, “Wow, those thousand words a day! That’s great!”
Truth is, I thought that was half as much as I strive to get on paper each day, but I wanted to underestimate in my average. I’ve made a personal goal for myself that I would write about 2000 words a day. At one point, I was striving to do that towards my current book project, but I soon and that I was not able to write that many words towards one project – it was just unrealistic. However, if I cut back to 1000 words a day toward a book project, that leaves at least 1000 words for everything else.
Because of the calling of my life to be a preacher and a writer, as well as a tentblogger, I’ve learned that I must continue to write every day at a productivity rate of about 2000 words per day. This means I’m writing anywhere between 750-1000 words a day for my sermon preparation; I’m writing about 250 words a day for my blog posts or other random projects, and I am writing at least 1000 words a day towards my current writing projects. When I’m able to keep up this kind of writing schedule, I’m not only hitting my deadlines, but delivering content to my reading audience above-and-beyond other content providers.
The key to being able to provide this much written content on a regular basis is to schedule my writing time. I must make sure that I’m blocking out certain amounts of time on a daily basis so that I can write this much. For me, rushed writing is never good writing. Therefore I must make sure that I have unhurried blocks of time where I can sit with a clean mind–mind like water–and get the things out of my brain and heart on the paper.
Another one of the keys I’m learning to providing good content is not only blocking out the time, but blocking out the time before 10 AM. My best writing time is in the morning. Now, you must understand, I am not a morning person. In fact I wake up very slowly, usually one braincell at a time. I used to try to get up before for or five o’clock and begin to write right away, but it was on a rare occasion that this would work. Rather when I get up slowly, make myself a coffee, mosey over to the toaster and make a warm bagel, then read something, catch up on the rotating news on my e-mails webpage…. or whatever it may be… after awhile, I will soon find myself awake enough to begin writing.
I usually write for about one hour before my son wakes up. Then I stopped and have breakfast with him, we watch the Today Show, I shower and get ready for the day, and then commute to my office. Upon the arrival to my office I say hi to my assistant, unpack my bag and begin to write again (usually for my sermon or a church project). By about ten o’clock I’ve captured all of the main content out of my head and onto the page. It may not be all clean; it may not be very pretty; in fact it might not be something I would ever show the world. But at least the content is on paper and I am now able to refine it at a later time.
Bottom line: There is a power in scheduling time to write and there is a peace of mind when that time to write comes before 10 AM.