10k in four hours (and music!)

Today was one of those days where getting no writing done was looking more and more likely as the day wore on. I went to the store, worked on book drive stuff, and started book three, which still has a loose plot and plenty of room for dares.

Next thing I knew it was seven in the evening. Total word count for the day: 137 words. Oops.

This had to be remedied. I decided to issue myself a challenge: write ten thousand words by midnight. I still had to eat and take a shower, but even after doing that, four hours would still remain for noveling. That’s 2500 words an hour, which is a little above my normal writing rate and doable. The threat: the spines of the lionfish, the spirit animal granted to me by Chris Baty.

So I began. The first hour was great with 3275 words in that hour. (Well, 3138 words once the words I wrote earlier are taken out.) I slowed down a little during the second hour but still hit the halfway point with 5535 words. The third hour brought me to 8098 words, and around 11:45 I hit word 10,000: 10033, in fact.

The secret to today’s success? Upbeat music. I normally write to my music collection set on shuffle. There is a huge difference in my productivity when the music is fast and when it’s slow. When the music’s fast, my brain kicks into writing mode and starts to pound out the words. Slower music, on the other hand, tells me to relax and to listen along, maybe write a couple of words at a time instead of a couple of pages.

The secondary secret to my success was timing myself to the music. I’d do word wars with myself not for a set time but for the length of the album. This was a great way for me to keep writing until the end, and because sometimes I wasn’t sure when the album would end, I would keep writing.

And in case you’re wondering, here are the 10k in four hours albums in the order in which they were played:

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Shake the Streets
Tegan and Sara: If It Was You
The New Pornographers: Electric Version
The Veronicas: The Secret Life Of…
Alphabeat: Alphabeat

If music is tied to my typing speed, then Ted Leo is definitely a winner. I could feel myself speed up when it was playing. This theory must be tested.

4 replies on “10k in four hours (and music!)”

Thank you! I turned on Ted Leo – all of his albums – on grooveshark, and I just sat down and challenged my roomate to a forty five minute word war. I’m twenty minutes in, and I’ve already got a thousand words. Thank you, thank you!

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