Writers: How to Boost Your Daily Word Count with One Simple Tweak
If you want to write more, but you’re pressed for time, keep reading
One of the big struggles of writing is production level. Most of us have families, day jobs, and other obligations. We can’t sit for eight hours and bang-out thousands of words.
If we want to write that next book, story, or article, we’ve got to get the words on the paper. If we want to be full-time writers we’ve got to write a lot more than we do when we’re halfway in it.
So, how do we write more and get ourselves closer to writing full-time, while juggling our everyday responsibilities and get enough sleep?
I found one solution that works for me and maybe it’ll work for you.
As a writer you’ve only got a few ways to practice your craft: paper, typing, or dictation. I’ve never been able to dictate well and my handwriting is horrible. So, I’m stuck with typing as my weapon of choice.
I’m not the fastest typist either. I had trouble getting my words in. No matter how early I woke up, or how late I stayed up, I wasn’t making progress until I changed my writing methods with the tweak I’m about to share.
I write most of my work on my phone.
And after doing this consistently for over a year I write about 2,500 words per day without taking time from my family, or other obligations.
Yep. I write on my phone… with thumbs… no touch typing and no dictation. I write in tiny bursts throughout my day and I write more than I was ever able to with dedicated time on my laptop.
There’s a whole process I go through to ensure I’m prepared when these small moments arise. I wrote a long story about it here:
How to Write a Full Novel on Your Phone
Do your best work using the device you always have in your pocket
I realize this seems inefficient and I thought so too until I tried it. I use a sophisticated writing app called Scrivenir. The work I write on my phone is backed-up to the cloud. I have another version of Scrivenir on my laptop, so everything talks like best friends.
Writing on your phone is inefficient as far as typing speed goes, but NOT writing at all is a lot slower.
I steal time
As writers our most-precious resource (outside of great ideas) is time. If we don’t have time to write — lot’s of time — the work doesn’t get written.
There are hundreds of moments in your day, where you can steal your time back, and use it to do your writing on your phone. You’ve got the thing with you at all times. You don’t have your laptop at the dentist’s office, or in line at the grocery store.
We lose so many moments to waiting
Why not use these moments to write? Here’s a list of 10 moments during your day, where you can steal time for mobile writing:
- When you’re stopped in traffic (follow all local laws)
- While you’re waiting for an appointment
- While you’re in the bathroom
- While you’re waiting on-hold with your telephone company
- While you’re waiting for your table reservation
- While you’re waiting for your late friend to join you for coffee
- While you’re waiting in line at the grocery store
- While you’re waiting for the gas pump to fill your car
- While you’re waiting for an oil change
- While you’re wasting your life in a pointless meeting at work
The moments are everywhere. We encounter dozens per day. Some moments are short, some longer. Most of these mobile writing sessions won’t be longer than 20 minutes at once. And some may be as short as 2–3 minutes.
The secret is matching the time you have with the writing you need
I use a leapfrog method with my writing. I edit the work I did the day prior and write new content as well. If I only have a few minutes I’ll edit a couple sentences.
I might create a dozen new hooks for a new story, or come up with a single line of dialogue.
When I have more time, I’ll write as fast as I can and blaze through a few hundred words. I worry about editing later. I just want to make sure I get down the entire idea before it leaves me.
These focused sprints have helped me become a very efficient writer. I know I need the time to count. I used to write sloppy before I went mobile. Now, I know I’ll have wasted those precious writing sessions if I write sloppy.
I write with purpose and I use my words as deliberate as possible.
This method works for both fiction and non-fiction. No, it’s not as efficient as keyboard writing, but I’ve learned to get a much higher word count on a consistent basis.
I wrote a novel on my phone. I write short stories, outlines, course content, articles, research notes, and book descriptions. I treat my phone like a tiny laptop. Everything’s inside and it’s all backed-up to the cloud once I write.
You can write mobile too
Start with a small project to get used to the change in mindset. Mobile writing is harder, because your focus will frequently get pulled away from your work.
Mobile writing takes practice. You won’t be good at it after your first day. But it will get better.
August Birch (AKA the Book Mechanic) is both a fiction and non-fiction author from Michigan, USA. A self-proclaimed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indie authors how to write books that sell and how to sell more of those books once they’re written. When he’s not writing or thinking about writing August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.