Saturday, January 30, 2016

8 Minute Writing Habit

Life has a way of kicking you in the ass right as you are about to kick things off. This weekend is no exception and I will be driving, writing (for school unfortunately), reading (for school) and trying to do some general chores around the house. I am not sure I will get to my #8MWH today or tomorrow. I know, I know, breaks the point of the habit challenge but I simply must focus on school this weekend.

In the mean time I thought I would share what has been working for me this week. If you have been following along I wrote FIVE days in a row and almost surpassed 500 words each time. More importantly the writing came easy for me. This is not normal.

The method I have been using is simple and straight forward and I bet almost anyone could fit this into their daily schedule.
  1. I have pre-selected writing prompts on my blog. If you look at the last couple you can figure out what that I have everything in draft ahead of time. Every thing except the actual story. Right now I have over twenty writing prompts in draft on blogger. In the morning I scan over them and pick one that piques my interest. I do this first thing in the morning over a cup of joe before I do anything else.
  2. During the day the prompt is swimming around in my subconsciousness. I often come up with the 'BIG IDEA' on my 25 minutes drive into work. As I drive I put some classical music on the radio and the ideas just flow. I might also use some dance/techno/electronic music. It needs to be mindless sounds that flow. I am not sure why this works, but for me it does.
  3. At lunch I go out to my car. I have a nice isolated spot in the semi-wilderness on the edge of our Army base and eat lunch. I would guess by this time I already know the story I want to tell about 75% of the time. I have heard people talk about how your subconsciousness will work during the day without you even realizing it. I guess this must be true. If not they have not yet, while I eat the ideas continue to swim and now start coalescing into something significant.
  4. Voice to text. Yes. I dictate everything into my phone. I only make minor corrections: words it goofs up (funky names, etc), some structure such as carriage returns, quotes for speaking parts, etc. I record this on my phone in an app called JotterPad X. I have this on my phone and Kindle Fire and I believe it is the second most important part of this for me. The ideas swimming all day being number one, and the Voice to Text.
  5. I go back to work.
  6. Later that evening I post to the blog. I post AS IS, no tweaking. I am doing this for a reason. I want to see those errors I am creating during my first attempt so I am try to fix them in my process. Early on I realized that I was speaking too fast (ideas were flowing and I was excited) and I needed to slow down my dictation, not much, but just a slight tweak made the transcription 90% more accurate.
And now I discover I have just written 564 words today in roughly ten minutes. I guess I did meet my 8 Minute Writing Habit requirements for the day.  ;-)

#8MinuteWritingHabit  #8MWH


  1. Right on Matt. Long time reader buddy. Also, remember you from FUM days. FG has really really improved these days. Wish you still played through FG buddy! Anyway, LOVE the writing prompts. I too have so many drafts in my draft folder... Last time I checked I had over 50. Crazy how that works. My problem is I still suffer from impostor syndrome. I still have a hard time believing I can do it. Anyway, Awesome man. I love reading what you write. Take care,

    1. Hey man! Great to hear from you, been forever! I have a hard time finding my voice but by letting it stew all day it seems to be helping me find that. I look forward to reading anything you come up with, do you post your writing somewhere?

    2. I writr mainly for my site...

      It's been a month though...

  2. Interesting process, Matt. I'd probably have that many steps if I broke down the steps for making coffee so I can have a cup while I sit and stare at a blank Notepad document.

    1. Give voice to text a try, the blank screen can be like staring at a black hole. Moving to V2T had really helped me.