Your Word Count Top Speed: Sounds or Silence?

In my novel writing class, we often discuss writers’ preferences to maximize word count production. Some get better results if they write in a tomb–that is, with zero distractions. Others must have some sort of background noise or even a crowd where they can blend in and zone out.
Writing Tip for Today: As we approach this year’s NaNoWriMo, consider your optimum WCTS (Word Count Top Speed) and ways to git ‘er done.

  • Same Time or Spontaneous? Do you enjoy a stable writing routine? That is, do you tend to have the same block of time every writing session? If the answer is yes, chances are that you have your writing space set up in a way that encourages you to write at your top speed. No? Use this last week before the NaNo gun goes off to experiment with different writing times of day. Get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later. Or 1/2 hour. Even 20 minutes can make a difference. If you’re having trouble carving out time to write, the key is to learn to write in short bursts.
  • Alone or a Crowd? Where do you write more, in a crowd or locked in the attic? Doesn’t really matter, but you need to discover which setting works better for you. And it depends on the crowd. A gang of boisterous and inquisitive toddlers or preschoolers is different than disinterested mall walkers or the Starbucks crowd. Try writing this week in the most challenging setting you can muster. Who knows, your word count could increase with your determination to answer the question (as posed by every preschooler on earth) WHY?
  • Sound or Silence? Lastly, before you plunge into your 30 day masterpiece, figure out if music, white noise or other sounds (CAUTION: sounds of running water make some writers run for the bathroom!) enhances or detracts from your word count. Many writers agree that instrumental music, especially classics like Mozart or Beethoven, stimulate our creativity. Don’t know about you, but songs with lyrics tend to show up in my typing, creating a big headache. However you write, here’s a great big cheer as you enter the gates of November. And let’s hope by the end of the month you’ll have finished a draft to polish–one you can be proud of. Go get at that Word Count Top Speed!

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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