I’m not alone. I’ve met other writers who admit to membership in the club, which goes by other names. Some call it the Turtle Writers Club. One friend came up with a great name: Ninja Writers. I could get into that. After all, I do battle with words all too frequently. 🙂
So, what is a Tortoise Writer? Think of The Tortoise and the Hare, one of Aesop’s fables. I’m the slow but steady one of the two, plodding along day after day while some of my writer friends produce words with the speed of the hare.
The comparison stops there, though. Both tortoise and hare writers get the job done. We just go about it differently.
One day last week, I decided to see if I could pick up the pace. I’d seen many of my Rapid Writer friends participate in the #1k1hr challenge on Twitter.
The first time I saw that hashtag, I had no clue what it was. The # is what we in the Twitterverse refer to as a hashtag. Those on Twitter can follow others using the same hashtags, thus creating a sense of community. The 1k1hr means 1,000 words in one hour.
Those who choose to participate in #1k1hr post a tweet using the hashtag and write like the wind. Or try to. For me I was sure it would be more of a gentle breeze.
Since I’m a tortoise writer, I did everything I could to set myself up for success. Here are some steps I took:
- Filled the cat’s food dishes
- Refilled my glass of sweet tea
- Closed my email program
- Opened my WIP to the place where I’d left off
- Jotted down my beginning word count
- Started my writing music playing on iTunes
- Finished my Ready. Set. Go! #1k1hr tweet
- Set the timer for one hour
I took a deep breath, sent my tweet, and started the timer. And I typed as fast as I could.
As I worked, I noticed some things that could have slowed my progress:
- Opening my thesaurus to find the perfect word
- Searching Google Books to see if a word was used in my story’s time period
- Spending time coming up with a gesture to serve as a beat
- Figuring out a way to work in some sensory detail
- Choosing a name for a minor character
Since I was racing against the clock, I did something I don’t usually do. I forced myself to forgo my perfectionist tendencies and forged ahead. Instead of taking time to deal with the issues listed above, I made notes to myself in the manuscript in all CAPs and kept going.
- INSERT ADJECTIVE
- CHECK TIME PERIOD USAGE
- ADD A BEAT
- INPUT SENSORY DETAIL HERE
- CHOOSE A NAME
When the timer went off an hour later, I did the subtraction and found that I’d added 806 words to my WIP. I didn’t make my goal of 1,000 words, but I made significant progress. Several of my new #1k1hr buddies checked back to see how I’d done and congratulated me on my efforts, which was encouraging.
I’ve discovered a useful tool, one I’ll take advantage of on occasion. I produced more words than I would have done normally. Granted they were messy, but I had something to edit, a task I enjoy even more than writing a first draft.
If you’re on Twitter and haven’t tried #1k1hr, I encourage you to give it a whirl.
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On Wednesday one of my writer friends, Erica Vetsch, who regularly rocks #1k1hr will be my guest. She’ll be sharing more tools for increasing our productivity. Check it out.
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Are you a Tortoise Writer or a Rapid Writer?
Have you ever participated in #1k1hr? If so, what was your experience?
What distractions can slow you down when you’re working on a first draft?