I’ve been reflecting a bit about my current output in terms of how many words per day that I actually produce. Now, I’ve had a good couple of days this week for no specific reason – it’s just one of those times when things flow nicely. Furhtermore, I’ve also visited some old material which I thought I’d harvest ideas from. When I did this I noticed that while the words seemed to come out at a very quick pace and without forcing them out they offered me little in terms of personal satisfaction. I found what I wrote wanting and too much of a rehash of the old material instead of mining the core idea like I had intended. I know, I know! Kill your darlings.
Perhaps part of the reason for this lies within the fact that with certain things I tend to have a very solid memory. I do not have photographic memory or anything of the sort, just a damned good one when it comes to things I actually like paying attention to i.e. engaging stories or documentaries and the like (trivia is a guilty pleasure of mine) – coincidentally, this is why I rarely watch or read anything more than once. Most people who read actively will experience this I believe, a certain amount of time has to pass so that enough of the plot is forgotten to make it engaging. I realise that I digress but I’ll just mention one more thing before I move on. Sometimes there are factors that override the abovementioned and allow me to enjoy a reread or a re-watching of something and that’s something I’m going to explore further in another post at a later time.
For being an INFP I can be uncharacteristically organised and structured, which I believe is very benefitial for me when it comes to increasing my daily output. The department in which I am lacking, however, is oddly closely related. I tend not to be as diligent as I would like to be. For me, writing, or any other creative outlet for that matter, tends to come in spontaneous bursts. Recently, for example, I had a two day period where I cranked out 5.000 words with surprising ease and little to no strain. Whether or not it was quality writing I’m not sure, but that’s why editing is important, right?
I am looking to strike a balance between the spontaneous creative outbursts and the steady less inspired day-to-day pace. If I can even the two out I think I’ll benefit more from it in the long haul. At the same time, I also think it is important to set realistic goals for myslef. It is unreasonable for me to expect a daily 5k and telling myself that I can do it might goad the spontaneous rebellious side in me to accept that kind of dare, but the more levelheaded version of myself says I should lower the bar. At the end of the day, it is probably best to set flexible goals – assess the peice of writing I’m currently working on and based on that set a realistic but at the same time ambitious goal. Perhaps I should also enforce a bare minimum, but I suppose we’ll see how it goes.
What do you guys do to crank out the words? Do you have any habits that get your creative energies flowing?