These days publishing has become as much about productivity as about product. Writers are expected to produce books faster than ever, while also handling a multitude of marketing (if not independent publishing) tasks. How do you get those words out of your head to become the books you want to share with the world?
Here’s a powerful system for tackling this issue: The Chunky Method.
What is your Chunk?
Your “Chunk” is simply how many words you write in a single sitting before you run out of creative energy. Most of us have a consistent chunk, and that can be the basis of some very effective planning. Once you give yourself a few experimental sessions and average the output, you’ll know your Chunk—and that’s half the data you need.
Are you a Big Chunk writer or a Small Chunk writer?
This distinction is the other half of the information you need. Based on my experience, if your chunk is 1000 words or higher, you are probably a Big Chunk writer. If it is less than that, you are likely a Small Chunk writer. Their needs are different.
Big Chunk writers, who must totally immerse themselves in the words to make progress, need the following.
- A dedicated space to work.
- Banging out your passages at the dining room table annoys you.
- A specific environment.
- You require silence or a certain kind of music around you when you write. A shared, messy, or a make-do office won’t do.
- An extended period in which to write.
- You need a big block of time to find your rhythm. It’s frustrating to find a large enough span of time to write every day.
- Proper ergonomics.
- Long sessions mean you need a chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, monitor and lighting that helps your body rather than hurts it.
Small Chunk writers tend to be more adaptable…but prone to distraction. They take life, work, and writing in smaller bites and often juggle multiple projects. You can do the following.
- Write anytime, anywhere.
- Coffee bars, park benches, libraries, airplanes—any setting works for you.
- Easily tune out distractions.
- You don’t need pleasing music (or silence)—you can tune out and crawl inside a project anywhere.
- Write often.
- Small spurts fit your writing into a busy life. A daily word count works for you, but cramming for a deadline probably won’t.
- Use any tools.
- Tablets, notepads, laptops, even index cards or cell phones —ergonomics don’t make much difference, so you’ve got lots of possibilities.
Big Chunk Writers aren’t better or more committed than Small Chunk writers; they’re just different.
But both need a plan that takes their styles into account, one chunk at a time. After all, you don’t have to write the whole thing right now, just the next chunk of it. You’ll be amazed at how empowering this smaller goal can be.
Calculate how many chunks it takes you to reach your desired word count, then plot them out on a calendar to achieve your desired deadline. Any spreadsheet or even a simple calculator can help you plan, but if you’d like help formulating your Chunk and the path to a completed project, I’ve created a free Chunky Calculator you can download. Just grab your cell phone and text the word CHUNKY to 22828. You’ll be on your way to greater productivity and a sound plan in no time.
The Chunky Method by Allie Pleiter
Can’t seem to finish that novel you’ve been writing? Want to write faster and get published but fear squelching your muse? Pleiter’s innovative Chunky Method offers practical, real-world productivity advice in an easy to read and inspiring workbook. Follow a step-by-step plan to identify your unique writing “Chunk” and wield it to create a solid plan that works “even when life gets in the way.” No matter what your writing style, The Chunky Method Handbook will help you chart an individualized path to your creative writing goals. The award-winning author of over twenty novels, Pleiter has been teaching her nuts-and-bolts tactics across the country for years to writers of all genres, ages, and experience levels. Filled with real-life examples, humor, honesty, and encouragement The Chunky Method Handbook is an essential resource for thriving in spite of all that the current market—and everyday life—demands from a writer’s creative energy.